The rest of his Blueshirt mates followed Captain Cally’s lead and played a spirited period banging bodies with the bigger LA club refusing to back down.
With 5:60 remaining in the first Derek Stepan stripped Drew Doughty of the puck and Rick Nash picked up the loose puck and cut hard to the slot ripping a shot off Jonathan Quick. Former Conn Smythe winner and true NHL Superstar Brad Richards pounced on the rebound and in superstar fashion patiently flipped the puck by a sprawled Quick and off Doughty into the net for a 1-0 NYR lead. The Rangers kept up their pace and took a 1-0 lead into the first break.
The second period was all Rangers and could have easily been a blowout if not for the brilliance of Quick who robbed Benoit Pouliot on a pretty pass from Derick Brassard among several other big saves.
But then once more, early season Hart Trophy favorite Broadway Brad Richards continued his blazing hot play and doubled the Ranger lead. Rick Nash stole another puck at the Kings blue line and B-Rich (love him <3) scored his second of the match when he tried to hit Brassard on a two on one. Richards is so hot that his pass hit Slava Voynov and trickled into an open cage for the 2-0 Blueshirt lead.
Not quite ready to make the leap to true superstar, old Brad Richards made an appearance and committed a horrible turnover in the Rangers zone that led to some Ranger defensive zone scrambling and an eventual Kings goal. a wide open Jake Muzzin took a pass from Mike Richards and rifled a shot over Henrik Lundqvist glove to cut the lead in half and give the Kings some life.
With Rangers up by a goal and Pouliot in the box for a lazy tripping penalty. In what had to be a set play, Brian Boyle battled hard and won the draw to Ryan McDonagh who banked the puck off the side boards and through Quick for the 180 foot marker.
The fluke goal was the type of goal the Rangers never seem to get. Staked to a a 3-1 lead and with Hank solid in net and the tenacious Ranger forecheck from all four lines, McDonagh’s tally iced the game for the Blueshirts who closed out a 3-1 victory over a solid LA squad.
Some takeaways from the game.
It seemed like Rangers had more odd man rushes in this game than all of last season combined.
Nash (6 shots) was a beast, driving hard to the net and looking nothing like the fellow wearing the #61 shirt in the season opener.
Mats Zuccarello plays well above his weight class and his line was very good despite coming up empty.
Arron Asham won his tilt with Kyle Clifford and the Rangers battled hard and were not pushed around. They were actually tough to play against and that’s a good sign.
A bad sign was that the powerplay looked awful, firing only one shot in three chances. On a critical power play with just over two minutes to go in the second that could have iced the game the Rangers shot a blank. Those are the spots that Coach Vigneault’s boys will need to capitalize on this season as the Rangers will likely be in tight spots all year.
Finally, who was that guy wearing #19? Rangerface fave Broadway Brad had another solid game. With two games like that in a row, Richards has already had a better season than last year’s out of shape disgrace. Rangerface will jump back on the B-Rich band wagon (Game 6 vs. Washington anyone?) if the 6.7 million dollar man can continue to work hard and string games like this together.
Right back at it in San Jose tonight.
Let’s go BRAD RICHARDS!
Let’s go Rangers!