“I was thinking we were going to take a power play,” Jagr said with a laugh.
Ortmeyer, known more for blocking pucks than shooting them, made the most of his chance and scored a key goal in the Rangers’ 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
New York held a one-goal lead and was killing a penalty when Ortmeyer broke free and was dragged down from behind by Patrice Bergeron with 2:47 left. The referee pointed to centre ice, and Ortmeyer went to the bench to calm his nerves.
“I could barely feel my stick,” said Ortmeyer, who missed the first 40 games this season while recovering from a pulmonary embolism. “You can be a goat real quick there if you don’t put that away.”
After what he has been through, that part was almost easy.
“I said to him when he came back that good things happen to good people. And he’s certainly all of that,” coach Tom Renney said.
Ortmeyer, playing in his sixth game, netted his first goal in 40 games on his first career penalty shot. He did it after receiving advice from enforcer Ryan Hollweg, who has no points this season.
“I didn’t listen,” Ortmeyer said. “He was telling me that the goalie likes to take away the bottom half of the net away and to try to get it up in the air. He must have saw it on SportsCenter.”
Ortmeyer went with his own move, the same one he tried unsuccessfully last season during a 15-round shootout with Washington.
“I just wanted to fake a shot,” he said. “Blocking shots, hitting and bringing energy is what night in and night out I can contribute to the team. Something like that is just a bonus.”
Martin Straka tied all-star Brendan Shanahan for the team lead with 24 goals, and Michael Nylander had a goal and assist for the Rangers.
With a new set of forward lines, the Rangers played sound defence and snapped a two-game losing streak.
Nylander gave the Rangers a short-lived lead in the first period before Marc Savard tied it less than a minute later. Straka put New York ahead for good in the second with his 24th goal.
That was enough for the Rangers, who allowed 11 goals the previous two games.
Jagr, who’ll stay home from the all-star game to rest, had one assist and picked up a roughing penalty during an angry, shoving exchange with Paul Mara in the second period. He grew tired of shots to the head that went unpenalized, but wasn’t ready to throw off his gloves and fight.
“They put glue in my gloves,” he said. “Next year.”
Straka restored New York’s one-goal lead 5:52 into the second. Although he wasn’t picked Saturday for the NHL all-star team, Straka is tied for ninth in the league in goals and 10th in points. He has six goals and nine points in five games.
Unlike Thursday when the Rangers fell behind by five goals in the third period to Ottawa before rallying with four in the final period of the 6-4 loss, New York took an early lead on Nylander’s 15th at 10:34.
Before the goal announcement was complete, Savard – the Bruins’ leading scorer – tied it. Brad Stuart’s shot struck the skate of New York defenceman Thomas Pock and caromed off the leg of Savard, who wasn’t facing the net but scored his 16th goal 38 seconds after Boston fell behind.
Boston has been outscored 35-14 in its past seven games, going 1-5-1. But Savard has eight points (four goals, four assists) in four games.
“We brought it late and threw the kitchen sink at them,” Savard said. “We’ve got to find answers now. We can’t wait any longer.”
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist looked steady after absorbing the tough-luck loss to the Senators, despite allowing only one goal on five shots in relief of Kevin Weekes. Lundqvist made his ninth start in 10 games and stopped all but one of Boston’s 25 shots.
Thomas got back in goal after sitting out the Bruins’ 5-4 shootout loss at home to the New York Islanders on Thursday and made 35 saves – 21 in the second period. That wasn’t enough to keep him from his fourth loss in five games.
“Timmy Thomas bailed the team out,” Bruins coach Dave Lewis said. “That was the best period he’s played all season. He gave us a chance.”
Notes: Shanahan was chosen for his eighth all-star team. Boston D Zdeno Chara was picked for his second. … Ortmeyer earned his first two assists this season Thursday.