Boston Bruins' Tuukka Rask (40) gets his stick on the puck as New York Rangers' Jimmy Vesey (26) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York – In the words of New York Yankees radio voice John Sterling, “Who would have thunk it Suzyn?” Well John, about a week ago no one thought the New York Rangers would find their game and go on a winning streak and now here we are. The Rangers defeated the visiting and injury-plagued Boston Bruins, 4-2, at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. The Blueshirts were a burst of energy in the first period and it was enough to propel them to the victory.
The Rangers have registered at least three goals in nine of the last 11 games, including four or more goals in eight of those contests (43 goals over the span). The Rangers have also tallied at least four goals in six of the last seven games and in nine of 17 games this season. The Rangers recorded two goals in a span of 29 seconds during the first period (both by Jimmy Vesey).
The garden faithful had a lot to cheer about tonight as their team continues to build on their wins. Pavel Buchnevich picked up his seventh goal of the season on a beautiful shot over the shoulder of Bruins net minder Tuuka Rask. For Vesey, it was goals three and four and Rick Nash picked up his fourth of the season on the empty-netter to secure the victory.
The Blueshirts have played more regular season games (644) and have earned more regular season wins (256) against the Bruins than against any other opponent in their 91-season history. The Blueshirts have earned a win in each of their last six games against Boston, dating back to Jan. 11, 2016.
The Rangers lead the NHL in wins in November since the start of the 2005-06 season (97; 97-50-10 record in November over the span) and since the start of last season (14; 14-4-1 record over the span). New York has won each of its four games in November thus far this season.
As for the head coach on what he thought about his team playing a more complete game, Alain Vigneault went on to say, “Well, there were a lot of things that I liked about this game. I liked our start, I liked the fact that the goal that we scored, we scored them by going to the tough areas. [Buchnevich] went to the tough area; Jimmy [Vesey]’s both goals were right from in tight. PK came out big for us tonight, and this was probably the best Hank [Lundqvist] has looked as far as, you know, in control. So there were a lot of good things about tonight and we’ll get ready for the next game.”
Playing with a lead is always tricky with the Rangers and you never know what can happen. When asked about playing with a two-goal lead goalie Henrik Lundqvist said, “We played a really smart game. We set the tone in the first period, great energy. After they tie the game, we raised it another level and guys made some really big plays for us. The things that really didn’t go our way in the first eight, nine games in the season, I feel like now we are cashing in on that. It starts with doing the right thing, getting good starts and playing with more confidence. It makes such a big difference being able to make that play under pressure and a lot of times it’s the difference. It comes down to one or two plays where you have that extra skill and confidence to make them.”
Things are looking very good for the Rangers as they will now prepare for a Saturday matinee at Madison Square Garden when they welcome in Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers.
Mika Zibanejad tallied an assist and won 11 of 16 faceoffs (68.8%). He has registered a point in seven of the last eight games, recording 12 points (three goals, nine assists) over the span. Zibanejad leads the Rangers in points this season (18; eight goals, 10 assists).
Steven Kampfer led all skaters with four hits, tied for the game-high with four blocked shots, and registered three shots on goal in 16:30 of ice time. The Rangers have posted a 6-1-0 record in the seven games Kampfer has played in 2017-18.
Alain Vigneault earned his 200th career win as the Rangers’ Head Coach in tonight’s contest. He is the third head coach to earn at least 200 career wins with the Rangers in franchise history (Emile Francis – 342; Lester Patrick – 281). Vigneault leads all head coaches in wins since the start of the 2006-07 season (513). Tonight’s contest was Vigneault’s 1,151st career game as an NHL head coach, and he tied Marc Crawford for 16th place on the league’s all-time games coached list.