New York Rangers Reaction: The Comeback Kids
Adam Hunger, USATSI

The New York Rangers thumped the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Wednesday night despite falling behind by two goals after 20 minutes. Here’s what we learned.

After 20 minutes of hockey at Madison Square Garden, the lights were dim as ever for the New York Rangers.

A combination of two brutal turnovers from defensemen Nick Holden and Kevin Klein, bad communication, and a big mishap by goaltender Henrik Lundqvist resulted in a two-goal hole after one period, with David Pastrnak‘s opener coming after just 10 seconds.

There is a saying, however, that a two-goal advantage is the worst type of lead in hockey. Teams tend to get a little too comfortable when they get a cushion and that’s exactly what happened to the Boston Bruins last night.

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After fighting off a couple of penalties to open the game, the Bruins lack of discipline caught up with them as Rick Nash capitalized on the power-play with a nifty play in front of the net. Kevin Hayes followed that up with a bank-shot off of the skate of Bruins’ netminder Zane McIntyre, and Brandon Pirri took full advantage of a Matt Beleskey interference penalty with a nasty snipe of his own to give the Blueshirts a 3-2 lead.

Pirri and Jimmy Vesey went on to tally goals just 43 seconds apart in the third period to shut the door on a 5-2 victory at home. The win means that that the Rangers now sit atop the Metropolitan Division with ten points, passing the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

Here’s what we learned from last night’s triumph.



Rick Nash was awarded the Broadway hat last night and he deserved it in every way.

Nash has quietly done an incredible job this year and that continued last night. He was great on both ends of the ice and was solid on special teams as well, especially on the man-advantage. He showed great resiliency on his goal, as he was stoned on a redirection by McIntyre on the doorstep before he cleverly looped the puck into the net. He then threaded a beautiful back-handed pass to Jimmy Vesey for the Rangers final goal of the night.

He then threaded a beautiful back-handed pass to Jimmy Vesey for the Rangers final goal of the night:

At 32-years old, Nash looks well on his way to a bounce-back year after registering just 36 points last season. He has fit in nicely alongside Derek Stepan and Vesey on the top line and has firmly established himself on the top power-play unit, despite all the criticism he has received.

Two other forwards who were noticeable were Kevin Hayes and Brandon Pirri. Hayes constantly held up the puck for his teammates, finding players all over the ice. He made a great play in keeping the puck in the zone on the power-play to set up the first goal. He also made an impressive heads-up play to recognize that McIntyre was out of position and bank it off his skate into the net.

Pirri’s performance was highlighted by his snipe over the glove of McIntyre. He was in the perfect spot on his second goal as the puck bounced right to him off the back boards, where he proceeded to knock the puck into an open net. This guy is going to be a real difference maker for the Rangers going forward if he can stay healthy. His speed and shooting ability make him a legitimate threat on the fourth line.

This guy is going to be a real difference maker for the Rangers going forward if he can stay healthy. His speed and shooting ability make him a legitimate threat on the fourth line.

J.T. Miller put in another solid performance with two helpers. This kid is a real play-maker and he would probably have five goals if he could finish a breakaway.

Overall, the Blueshirts put together a real good performance offensively.


Individually, Ryan McDonagh impressed once again.

McDonagh was strong in all facets last night. He constantly made strong plays on the puck, protecting the puck from oncoming opposition and distributing it to teammates up the ice. He played physical once again and made really smart plays in his defensive zone. The 27-year old also picked up his sixth assist on Kevin Hayes’ goal and once again logged over 23 minutes of ice time.

McDonagh has looked like a beast early on in the season and he will need to continue his dominance if the Rangers want to continue their winning ways.

The pairing of Brady Skjei and Dan Girardi flourished last night as well. Despite contrasting styles of play, these guys seem to gel well together and should continue to play together on the third pairing.

Nick Holden disappointed, yet again, defensively. He had a terrible turnover and was poorly positioned on the opening goal and made more mind-numbing plays as the game went on. If his poor play continues, Holden could find himself on the bench in favor of Adam Clendening very soon.

Between the pipes, Henrik Lundqvist had a tough night despite not being tested much. The first goal wasn’t really his fault, but the second one Hank is going to want back. Although he was screened by Skjei on the play, Lundqvist was still out of position on the second goal, as he was way to far to the right of the goal for a shot that was fired right to the center of the net.

Lundqvist was perfect the rest of the night, but the first period was certainly one he would like to put past him.


This was a solid performance on many levels for the Blueshirts. Even when they were behind in the opening frame, the Rangers were still getting pressure offensively and made Henrik Lundqvist’s job relatively easy (with the exception coming on Pastrnak’s goal in front of the net).

The Blueshirts head down to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes on Friday.

 NEXT: Jimmy Vesey Discusses Life In The Big Apple (Interview) 

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