NEW YORK – For a while there, Ace Freely seemed like the only thing off-key on the night for the New York Rangers.
Yet, the KISS star’s awful rendition of “Back in the New York Grove” was the least of the Rangers concern at the end of the night. Not only did they lose the game in overtime 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, they lost Captain Chris Drury for six weeks with another break in the same finger and leading scorer Marian Gaborik for two to three weeks with a separated shoulder.
“We will take a point, said Rangers coach John Tortorella. “Obviously we are not happy about the first couple of periods. I don’t think we should be happy about the lack of physicality. I guess I am a little frustrated about that last one (goal). We’ll take the point.”
Phil Kessel beat Henrik Lundqvist with a wrist shot at 3:08 of overtime to give the leafs the win. It was tough because the Rangers were able to battle back after being down 3-1 in the game.
“They played smart,” said Lundqvist, who was screened on the game winner. “We had a really tough time settling things down. We bounced back in the third and played really well and never gave up. They played a good game. They are a good team.”
Yet it was the second period that killed the Blueshirts. Outshot 16-7 in the first, the Leafs were able to get to Lundqvist, who ended up with 34 saves on the night, with three goals in the second with Toronto holding a 14-5 advantage in shots.
Goals by Clarke MacArthur, Mike Komisarek and Kessel’s first goal on the night was bad enough, but then Gaborik was hurt on Colby Armstrong’s board at 2:33 into the period and Drury collided with Michal Rozsival breaking his finger.
Fortunately, the Rangers bounced back in the third. Secret weapon Brian Boyle scored two goals in the third to tie the game and give the Rangers the point.
“Brian’s had it right from the get-go,” Rangers center Brandon Dubinsky said. “Since training camp he’s had a chip on his shoulder. You’ve seen it throughout the preseason and tonight was another example that he is an important part of this team. He’s the type of guy who will embrace an increased role and step up.”
All of this came after Rozsival opened the scoring almost eight minutes into the first with a wrister beating Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who had 21 saves on the night.
“Obviously, the first two are not the way we want to start,” said Boyle, who had his second two goal game of his career. The first came on Apr. 4, 2009 vs. Phoenix as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. “That is why we have Henrik back there. He was a star all night. It was good for us to come back in the third. We just stuck together. It is just too bad. It is kind of a bad feeling right now. We came back, we worked really hard. We came back hard. We tried to avenge what happened to Gabby by playing hard. It is (still) a loss.”
Notes: Vinny Prospal will have surgery on Tuesday. He is out indefinitely. The Rangers opened their 85th season at Madison Square Garden. 85 years ago, they won their opener 1-0 over the Montreal Maroons…Ruslan Fedotenko, Derek Boogaard and Steve Eminger each recorded their first point as a Ranger, tallying one assist apiece. Fedotenko assisted on Rozsival’s first period goal, and he tied for the team-high with four hits in 17:37 of ice time. Boogaard registered the primary assist on Boyle’s goal at 2:10 of the third period, his first assist since Feb. 14, 2010 vs. Vancouver as a member of the Minnesota Wild. Eminger also assisted on Boyle’s first goal, and registered three hits and two blocked shots in the contest… Lundqvist stopped 30 or more shots for the second time this season with 34 saves, and is now 1-1-1 overall on the season. Last season, Lundqvist posted 30 or more saves in 21 games…Michael Del Zotto registered one assist and led all skaters with three blocked shots in 23:47 of ice time. The second-year defenseman has now registered three points (one goal and two assists) in three games.