Rangers Fall In Home Opener
It was a star-studded night at the partially renovated Madison Square Garden tonight for the Rangers' home opener. Seven games in the Blue-shirts were finally playing a home game, and it would not end well. Despite a fast start the Rangers would fall to their original-six rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2.
Defensemen Dan Girardi opened the scoring just 6:23 into the first period for the Rangers. His goal set the Garden on fire as the crowd was eager for something to cheer about. This was one of the better first periods that the Rangers have played. They had 16 shots in the first despite their notoriety as a team that starts slow. The Rangers even had two goals called back on incidental goalie contact and were unlucky to only be ahead by one after the first. The excitement of that first period would fade however, as the Leafs would tie the game just 1:20 into the second and the period would end in a 1-1 tie.
The third period was, however, a Maple Leaf domination. The Rangers offense could find no footing and failed to threaten until late in the period. The Leafs, however, would score two goals in the first 6:33 of the period to take a commanding lead. They'd score again seven minutes later capping a run of four straight goals that would sink the Rangers' hopes. Michael Del Zotto would deliver a small dose of solace late in the third period to make it 4-2, though it was little consolation from the reality that the Rangers were thoroughly dominated in the last two periods. By all accounts the Leafs controlled the game after escaping the first period down only one goal. Their victory was well earned.
The Rangers, who despite being outplayed took fewer penalties and finally played a solid first period, can take some encouragement from the game. Though all in all they need to improve their play; they've yet to really play 60 minutes of good hockey. The Rangers will continue their home stand when they take on the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon.