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Rangers smother Bruins in clash of East contenders

Feb 14, 2012, 9:57 PM EDT

Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Milan Lucic AP

On a big night of NHL games, the New York Rangers made a serious argument that they’re the best team in the Eastern Conference.

The first-ranked Rangers topped the second place Boston Bruins 3-0 thanks in large part to Henrik Lundqvist‘s brilliance. The superb Swede stopped all 42 Bruins shots while New York scored three on just 20 attempts against defending Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas.

(This is probably a good time to note that Lundqvist hasn’t won a Vezina in his otherwise distinguished career.)

Sure, the shutout had its odd moment as what seemed like a Bruins goal actually went in a little hole in the side of the net, but that’s all that “got past” Lundqvist. Maybe it’s extreme to say that this was a statement game overall, but it certainly could qualify as such for Lundqvist.

The Ryans (Callahan and McDonagh) once again scored a goal apiece as the Rangers frustrated the Bruins.

This inspires two nearly unavoidable questions:

1. Is Lundqvist running away with the Vezina right now?

2. Does this prove that the Rangers are indeed the best team in the East at the moment? If not, who’s your choice?

  1. brian32556 - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Hank the King! What’s that Bruins fans? Nothing! As in SHUTOUT at home. And fans booing! I thought that only happen in NY!!!!

    • odj810 - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:05 AM

      rangers are a really good team and the only team scary in the east for my bruins. and no doubt king hendrik for vezina/mvp. This is going to make one hell of a playoff matchup with the 2 teams physical play

    • bruins33 - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      did you watch the game? NY got 2 weak goals. Other then that the ice was completely tilted in the bruins favor. No way Lundqvist can consistently preform like that for you guys.
      Personally thought it was an awesome game and I’m not at all worried about the Bruins effort and their offensive abilities.

    • imleftcoast - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:33 PM

      Happens in NY? Didn’t the Giants just beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, what does NY has to boo? Love to see Lundqvist outplaying Timmeh at home. Two more games in this series, but the Rangers look like the contenders, and the Bruins the pretenders.

  2. brian32556 - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Vezina – Yes; MVP – Yes! Best in the league – Yes! (3 games in hand v. Detroit)!

  3. hanktheking - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Where are those B’s fans saying were in for a reality check? Looks like they’re the ones who got the check. 9 points clear of first place and no end in sight!! Hank for MVP!! Alls well in Ranger Nation:)

  4. AppealToReason - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    I’m curious to see how they hold up in a playoff series before they’re the best team in hockey. I’m still not too crazy about the bottom half of their roster.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:05 PM

      I’d also suggest that you can only hold out for so long when the other team outshoots you 2:1. At some point, those pucks will start going in.

      • ml3939 - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:18 PM

        Besides Lundqvist, I think a lot of their players are overachieving and may be peaking to early. Lundqvist is an absolute stud. I just don’t see it in the rest of the team. If I am wrong, I will be the first to admit it. They have been excellent recently in all facets of the game. They completely exploited the Flyer’s defense on Saturday. They will always be a sound defensive team but I just don’t see them being able to keep up this level of play for an extended period of time. When it matters most, their offense will be their downfall.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:26 PM

        The Wild were overachievers for a while but most of their wins were by 1 goal and against teams that either hadn’t hit their stride yet, eg Detroit, Vancouver, St. Louis, or are basement dwellers. The Rangers, on the other hand, may be overachieving but they’re doing it against legitimate contenders and doing it consistently. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop too but give Tortorella a ton of credit for what this team has done too. Henrik has been awesome but the rest of the team looks like it might be the real deal.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:26 PM

        The Wild were overachievers for a while but most of their wins were by 1 goal and against teams that either hadn’t hit their stride yet, eg Detroit, Vancouver, St. Louis, or are basement dwellers. The Rangers, on the other hand, may be overachieving but they’re doing it against legitimate contenders and doing it consistently. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop too but give Tortorella a ton of credit for what this team has done too. Henrik has been awesome but the rest of the team looks like it might be the real deal.

      • stakex - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:30 AM

        @ml3939

        Who is over achieving for the Rangers? If anything, a few of their players (Richards and Dubinsky I’m looking at you guys) are under achieving right now. The rest of the team is pretty much playing up to their ability, with Lundquist playing like the brick wall the Rangers need. Obviously things could start going bad in a hurry if the Rangers start giving up a few more goals, but no one is really playing above their head for the Rangers.

      • ml3939 - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        @stakex

        I don’t necessarily mean from a statistical standpoint. The team is really playing mistake free hockey and taking advantage of pretty much all of their opportunities. It is just very hard to keep playing at the level they are playing at as a team. If this were the playoffs, I think they could keep it up as the nature of the playoffs makes it easy to build on their current success. The problem is the playoffs are about 25 games away. Once they make a couple of mistakes and some pucks start hitting posts or just don’t go in as easily it will be tough to reach this level of play again, especially for a team that is not very dynamic offensively and in all likelihood will be very dependent on one line providing the big goal in every big game when it matters. It will be easier for teams in the playoffs to focus their defensive efforts on the Richards and Gaborik.

  5. gallyhatch - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    Rangers looked real strong tonight, but no Stanley Cup was ever won in February.

  6. lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    If that’s how the Rangers handle the 2nd best in the East, they won’t really need the services of a certain Mr. Nash after all.

  7. giantsman80 - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Who cares if there Stanley cup winners they aren’t going to win sh*t this year.

    • brian32556 - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:56 AM

      giantsman80 – Feb 14, 2012 at 11:36 PM
      Willing and ready to learn anything involving computer hardware and software
      ====================
      Dude, between poor English and non-specific direction, you make the rest of us Giant’s fan look stupid. Which team are you talking about?

      • brian32556 - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:58 AM

        S/B Who cares if there Stanley cup winners they aren’t going to win sh*t this year.

        (Just edited my kid’s resume)

  8. spezzabangsmilfs - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    Vezina is all his baring a massive collapse

  9. crusty14 - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Now I didn’t see the game, but seeing the bruins got 42 shots on net, I wouldn’t consider the game a smothering! I see it as the rangers capitalizing on their chances, as lundquist standing on his head’. That being said the rangers are playing well, and I think the b’s and rangers in a 7 game conference final would be highly entertaining!

    Go Bruins!

  10. 8man - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    This is why playoff series are a best of 7.

  11. monsor - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    @Bruins33 – not sure what game you were watching bro. The Bruins had 42 shots because it was obvious after halfway through the second period that Henrik was in their heads. They just started throwing bad easy shots toward the net just to get something going and he brushed them to the corner like flies. The Bruins held the puck for Most of the second and third period, but the Rangers dominate the first which is how they ended up with 2 goals. Bad Bruins turnovers left and right from forechecking. The second half of the game was due to fatigue on the Blueshirts part. But they were still sound defensively because with all one shots, Hank had to make very few second chance saves. But maybe your right. Maybe, the Rangers just weren’t playing at their best and the Bruins dominated. That sucks for them to dominate a game that they get shut out in…it’s a good thing the Rangers didn’t show up.

    • bruins33 - Feb 15, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      As a goalie in the NHL making 42 saves is an incredible feat. There is no denying that, especially against the team that is leading the league in goals per game. You can’t say that the Bruins were taking terrible shots all game hoping Lundqvist would let an easy one by because that just isn’t true, Bruins had a ton of good opportunities that they couldn’t put in/ that Lundqvist made solid saves on. But you can’t expect Lundqvist to be able to do that each time the Rangers face a serious competitor.

      — All I’m saying in my original post is that the game that I watched was not the “Rangers smother[ing the] Bruins”. Although the scoreboard makes the game look like a smothering, my impression of the game is that; had Chara not taken that ugly penalty of picking up the puck, which lead to NY’s first pp goal, and if NY doesnt get a lucky bounce with 11 seconds left in the first for their second goal that was going wide and hit off Chara, this is a completely different game with the serious possibility of Boston being on top. A couple of mishaps like these + an outstanding goal tending effort from Lundqvist (42 save shutout) = Rangers win no doubt.

      I know that I can count on Chara, the Norris Trophy and Stanley Cup winning, veteran defensemen to have a better game than this any given night. and Im not putting this L on Chara, I’m just saying he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and took a bad penalty, which happens to the best of us.

      And I also know that the Bruins in the future won’t not have bounces go their way, which none seemed like they were. From what I saw the Bruins offensive pressure was there and in the future I know that I can expect more of an all around solid defensive effort that results in less sloppy goals.

      Don’t be so quick to count out the Bruins. Sometimes the team that preforms the worse comes out on top, If you know anything about hockey/ sports in general you know that to be true. I think last night was an extremely even and entertaining game that could have gone either way.

      I love hockey

  12. brian32556 - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    @ Bruins33
    Exactly as I expected – the Rangers didn’t win, the Bruins lost it! And I did watch the game – on NESN as a matter of fact, where even the Bruin announcers were extolling the Ranger’s dominance!

    I keep hearing doubters say “They’re playing over their heads.” “They can’t keep it up.” YEAH, they’re right – its only been 55 games. And half the team isn’t playing UP TO THEIR POTENTIAL, not over their heads .Yeah, too soon to tell – too soon my a$$!

  13. brian32556 - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    The Bruins are now closer to missing the playoffs than ending in1st in the east. Currently playing their worst – October all over again. Its the Bruins who couldn’t keep it up!

    • savoirlaire - Feb 15, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      brian32556–

      “Currently playing their worst – October all over again”…yeah, but remember November? I look for a similar return to form. But keep on wishful thinking, though!

    • bruins33 - Feb 15, 2012 at 6:48 PM

      @brian32556
      you’re ignant dawg.

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