by Patrick Hoffman on 10/28/11 at 10:43 AM ET
In what was suppossed to be an exciting home opener in the newly renovated Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers were flat in a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Playing in the Garden for the first time since April, the Blueshirts struggled to sustain any kind of offense in the Leafs’ zone while also allowing Leafs’ forwards to get open in front of netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Put those two together and it is a losing combination for the Rangers.
While the new look Madison Square Garden was a sight to see with new seats, luxury boxes, concourse, etc., on the ice, the Rangers did not show much after Dan Girardi’s first period tally that gave the Blueshirts a 1-0 lead. From that point on, they proceeded to play on their heels, not generate enough offense, and make life difficult for Lundqvist.
Lundqvist, who made 32 saves in the game, was terrific throughout the first two periods but appeared to have lost a step in the third period. He allowed questionable goals to Clarke MacArthur and Mike Brown but other than those two blemishes, he gave the Blueshirts an opportunity to win.
On the other side, the Leafs played a smart road game. They battled, put pressure on Lundqvist, made life somewhat comfortable for goaltender Jonas Gustavsson and more importantly, came out of the hockey game with two points.
The Blueshirts will be back in action tomorrow afternoon at MSG to take on the suddenly streaking Ottawa Senators. If the Rangers’ play like they did last night, it could get ugly at the “new” Garden awfully quick.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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