The Bruins attacked early. The Rangers clawed back late.
The Blueshirts turned in a game for the ages tonight. It was an MSG Special. They played up to another of the League's elite and out-worked them; out hustled them and out fought them. Boston feasted and ate us up early. Then got sloppy and sleepy while the Rangers stayed hungry and alert.
For three fourths of the first
Tim Thomas was impenetrable in the first period against a flurry of all five Ranger shots on goal. Yes, that's sarcasm. In the Rangers' defense, they were good opportunities. But it's Tim Thomas we're talking about. He demands defense in front of him and vacuums up the rest. On the other side, Henrik Lundqvist got blistered with nineteen shots on goal. Two found their way passed him as the Rangers defense played less than gamely in the first period.
After a few smacks in the locker-room administered by Coach Torts and some smelling salt for the team, it was back on their feet for Round Two. A Boston left hook immediately had the Rangers reeling again. They were against the ropes and in trouble. The body blow suffered from a third goal for Boston by Chris Kelly had everyone in the Garden thinking they'd fall at any second. It was just a matter of time. But the Rangers showed strong legs, held on, shook loose some cobwebs, and composed themselves. They withstood the barrage and started to counter-punch their way back into this
The half way point of this
The Rangers were the ones pressing the play in the second period and won the battle of shots on goal; nine for the Rangers while they limited Boston to four. And of course, they outscored Boston in the period 2-1 to claw back to within one goal with a period to go.
A tenacious third
The third and final
The third period kept winding down shortening the Rangers season with every tick of the clock.
Then at 3:48 Brandon Dubinsky unloaded and the Garden went BOOM! A Ranger goal and this game was tied! It was a Dubinsky straight right! You know...the ones behind a pawing jab that no one ever sees coming. The Bruins' knees buckled. They were dazed, confused and back-peddling away from a stalking Ranger team suddenly refueled on adrenaline and smelling a kill.
The Blueshirts chased Boston down and got them into the corner and POW! They dropped the hammer at the 2:57 mark. Down went Boston! Down went Boston!! Down went Boston!! Michael Sauer delivered the knockout punch and the Garden went bonkers.
The Boston Bruins made it back up before the count of nine but they were still out on their feet. The guys with the stripes on their arms let them continue and the Rangers stepped in to finish them off.
One more measured shot and the Boston Bruins were knocked down again by a Derek Stepan goal at 19:07 (an empty net goal). And this time Boston wasn't getting up. The clock on the scoreboard said their time was up and that they had endured too much of an onslaught by a resilient, and very game New York Rangers team.
The Blueshirts win this game on a 5-2 TKO.
Boston; the NHL's 2nd best ranked defense had no answer for a fierce Ranger counter-punch. In the second half of this game they got out-toughed. Zdeno Chara might be big. But our smaller New York Rangers played bigger; just like they did against the bigger Flyers. How many times have you heard it? It's not the size of the fighter; it's the size of his fight that matters.
Most times this team will play you tough and keep things close. It's what we have to do because our scoring isn't always there for us. But on numerous occasions this season, the Rangers have shown an ability to deliver knockout blows as well.
Madison Square Garden was always a Mecca of the Fight Game. And every once in a while, a Hockey game breaks out. And sometimes they turn out to be classics.
WHAT A DIFFERENCEA DAY MAKES; How They'll Wake up Tuesday Morning:
#6 ~ Montreal 91 points
#7 ~ NY Rangers 91 points
#8 ~ Buffalo 90 points
#9 ~ Carolina 89 points
Rangers win season series against Boston 3 games to 1.
The Rangers have two games remaining; Atlanta Thrashers; New Jersey Devils; both at Madison Square Garden.