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courtesy of NHL.com

It wasn’t easy, but the Rangers gave Hank the best birthday gift he could’ve asked for with a huge road win. We got a couple beautiful goals from the 4th line, the PP sucked again, Brad Marchand played like idiot we all know he is, and Hank slammed the door shut. All in all, it was a great road win. Click here for full stats, courtesy of ESPN.

Quick Stats:

First Period Scoring-

  • none

Second Period Scoring-

  • none

Third Period Scoring-

  • 5:10 NEW YORK GOAL Pavel Buchnevich; Assists: Nick Holden, Rick Nash
  • 9:35 NEW YORK GOAL Oscar Lindberg; Assists: Matt Puempel, Brady Skjei
  • 12:56 BOSTON GOAL Brad Marchand; Assists: David Pastrnak, Colin Miller

Three Stars-

  1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR: 32 Saves, Win
  2. Ryan McDonagh, NYR: 4 SOG, 27:16 TOI
  3. David Krejci, BOS: 2 SOG

Impressions

  • Happy 35th Birthday, Henrik! Before I even talk about the game, let’s show some love to our goaltender and most important player. We’ve been so spoiled as Ranger fans to have had this stud between the pipes for the last decade. He competes hard and cares so much about his performance. He’s everything you want in a hockey player and in a leader. Tonight was no exception. He kept the team in the game when they were getting outplayed in the first period and wasn’t afraid to get in Brad Marchand’s face in the second period. That’s one thing that people don’t talk about: Hank is a pretty cool customer but he doesn’t take any crap from anyone. And the stick save on Pastrnak in the third was absurd. If not for a cheap goal by Marchand, he would’ve had shutout. Great performance by the birthday boy. 
  • Brendan Smith made his Rangers’ debut tonight, and I mostly liked what I saw. He obviously hasn’t been here long and has only had the benefit of one practice, but he was a steady presence on the 1st D-pairing with Ryan McDonagh. I think playing with his college buddy really steadied him a bit. For instance, he got walked by Pastrnak midway through the third period, but Mac was there to pick him up. I also liked seeing him throw the body around a bit and get into some scrums, showing a physical element to his game that the Rangers could really use. I look forward to seeing more of him, but I already like this low-key move by Jeff Gorton.
  • Speaking of McDonagh, he was spectacular tonight. He led all skaters with over 27 minutes of ice-time and he had that amazing save in the 3rd period with Hank out of position. He’s a beast on the blue line, and I’m so glad he was chosen to the All-Star team because I think he’s forgotten about around the league because he’s not a big scorer. The position is called DEFENSEman for a reason though, and he’s by far one of the best in the business at shutting down the opposition.
  • The 4th line was great tonight. Pavel Buchnevich’s slapshot from the top of the circle to beat Tuuka Rask over his shoulder, glove side was an a amazing goal. He needed it too. After battling injuries all year, being scratched lately and even being sent down to the AHL, he needed a game like this desperately. His injury-ravaged team looked to him to come back into the lineup and he delivered. Then there’s the ever-steady Oscar Lindberg. He’s such a smart defensive player, just like Jesper Fast. And just like Jesper Fast, we often forget about his offensive upside. He’s doing a damn good job reminding us with 3 goals in the last 6 games and a hell of a move tonight to deke around his defender, bring the puck back to his forehand and beat Rask blocker side for what would prove to be the game-winning goal. 
  • We need to be more physical, period. David Backes ran Hank tonight. This wasn’t some scramble for a rebound or a case of the offensive player getting checked into the goalie. The puck was at the far boards, and Backes went East/West through the crease, knowing full well that he’d end up bumping Hank. He got 2 minutes for his shenanigans but no one jumped in to rough him up or challenge him to drop the gloves. Between that play and Marchand’s constant jawing, I can’t help but feel like the Rangers just continued their 3-game streak of getting bullied by their opponents. Bring me Tanner Glass ASAP.
  • Two horrible streaks continued tonight. First, Stepan was held out of the goal column for a 19th straight game. And this isn’t the first time he’s had goal droughts hit double digits lately. Stepan’s a great leader on this club but he needs to step up and earn that hefty contract. I’m starting to worry that he isn’t the player we thought he was when we decided to pay him like he’s Jonathan Toews. Worse than Stepan’s drought are the power-play struggles. We went 0-4 on the man advantage again tonight and its really getting to be a dire situation. If you look at the way the game went tonight, you have to think that we were lucky to come away with a win. Buchnevich drew a high-sticking minor with the Rangers already winning 2-0. If they convert this chance, the game’s over. Instead, they fail yet again and Marchand is able to cut the lead in half a few minutes later. Fortunately, the Rangers at least got some shots and kept possession on the power-play they got via the Backes interference call and were able to seal the win. Still, they got lucky. When the playoffs come around, power-play failures like this can see 2-0 leads evaporate quickly.