BOSTON – A couple of flukey goals and a defenceman scores on a clean breakaway. Things were bouncing right for the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
Artem Anisimov and Alex Frolov scored off bouncing pucks 25 seconds apart in the first period, Henrik Lundqvist stopped 35 shots, and the Rangers held off the Boston Bruins 3-2.
Defenceman Marc Staal also scored for the Rangers, who posted their second straight road win, when he came out of the penalty box and scored on a breakaway.
“A clear-cut breakaway from the blue line, definitely my first,” Staal said, smiling. “I picked it up. I didn’t know how close (Zdeno) Chara was to me, so I just tried to get away as fast as I could and go to the old trusty backhander. I don’t get breakaways often, but I used it in junior every now and then, and in shootouts, and it’s worked, so that’s what I went to.”
Chara and Nathan Horton had goals for the Bruins, whose four-game winning streak was snapped.
In a spirited first period, highlighted by three fights, numerous breakouts and hard hits, the Rangers jumped ahead 2-0 on the goals by Anisimov and Frolov.
Anisimov’s power-play goal made it 1-0 at 11:34. He batted the puck with a backhanded swipe over goalie Tuuka Rask’s left shoulder after the puck bounced into the air. The goal held up to a video review when it was determined that Anisimov’s stick wasn’t above the crossbar when he struck the puck.
Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg attempted to clear the puck in front of his net, but hit Frolov’s lower body. The puck bounced over Rask to make it 2-0.
But it was Staal’s goal that had the Rangers in a joyful mood.
The Rangers increased their lead to 3-1 on Staal’s goal after Chara scored for Boston late in the first. Staal came out of the penalty box, picked up a loose puck near the Bruins’ blue-line and skated in on a breakaway, slipping a backhander past Rask 48 seconds into the second.
“When you have a forward (Brandon Dubinsky) and a D, you think the D’s going to give the puck to the forward,” Lundqvist said, breaking into a laugh. “But Staalsie just took off and he made a great move there.”
Rask, making his first start since a season-opening 5-2 loss to Phoenix in the Czech Republic, made 27 saves.
“We felt good about his game,” Boston coach Claude Julien said of his goalie’s long layoff. “With a little luck, he would have had his first win tonight.”
Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference thought a poor start hurt Boston as much as the lucky goals.
“They were tough goals, but we were outplayed in the first period,” he said. “It’s tough to take a whole period of hockey and talk about two goals.”
Skating with their second two-man advantage of the first period, the Bruins cut the deficit to 2-1 when Chara fired a slapshot from the right point inside the left post with five seconds left.
Horton’s goal cut it to 3-2 midway into the period.
The Bruins had few good chances in the third. They pulled Rask with 43 seconds left for an extra skater, but managed just one long shot.
The Rangers, who handed Toronto its first loss of the season on Thursday, were without injured top forwards Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal and Chris Drury.
Notes: Rangers LW Brandon Prust was hit in the face by a high stick from Gregory Campbell in the second period, drawing a double minor. Rangers coach John Tortorella said he was taken to the hospital to have an eye injury evaluated. No further information was available. … Horton has at least one point in each of Boston’s six games, matching his career high. … Rangers RW Ryan Callahan earned his 100th career point with a second-period assist. … Boston D Johnny Boychuk headed to the dressing room after getting slashed by Dubinsky in the first period. He came back for a few shifts later in the period, but missed the rest of the game because of a hand injury. Julien said the team will know more Sunday. … Boston had killed 14 consecutive penalties until Anisimov’s goal.