The New York Rangers scored an early goal in the first period and despite roaring pressure from the Boston Bruins in the third period, they were able to hang on for the 1-0 victory. Henrik Lundqvist tallied his league leading (and career high) 11th shutout of the season and was brilliant in net, setting aside 26 Boston shots, 12 of which came in the third period.
Stemming from a missed offisides call on Marian Gaborik in the first period, the Rangers took a shot that Tuuka Rask held onto for the in-zone faceoff. Derek Stepan won the ensuing faceoff cleanly back to Michael Sauer who ripped a wrist shot toward the net, that the 20-year-old rookie deflected past Rask. It was Stepan's 20th goal of the season and he became the youngest 20-goal scorer for the Rangers since Alexei Kovalev in 1993-94, according to the New York Daily News' Jesse Spector.
Unlike the previous two one-goal games, the Rangers played playoff-type hockey Saturday afternoon -- using their shutdown defense (for the most part) to transition to their offense. The Bruins were unable to muster any offensive chances in the first two periods. The Rangers would only score one goal, but the life that was lacking against the Panthers and Senators was back.
The Rangers controlled most of the game and had a 13-6 shot advantage in the second period, but the third period was an entirely different story. New York had one shot on goal and leaned entirely on blocking shots -- 29 in the game -- and Lundqvist to secure the victory. Not enough can be said for stalwart goaltender's performance in the last frame. His play throughout the season -- and especially lately -- has vaulted him into the Vezina Trophy discussion.
As of now, the Rangers are tied with Montreal for sixth place in the East. However, the Canadiens play the Capitals tonight and a win would keep the playoff picture the same as it was before today's games. New York has 87 points on the year -- seven points ahead of ninth-place Carolina and will take part in another key playoff-picture battle with the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.