Rangers Fall to Thrashers at Home on Graves’ Night
It was an emotional night in Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. The game was prefaced with a long ceremony honoring former Rangers player, and current front office member, Adam Graves.
The ceremony included his contemporary Rangers greats, including Mark Messier, Mike Richter and Brian Leetch as well as Rangers players from earlier generations. Graves received gifts, accolades and ear drum bursting thanks and appreciation from the fans.
After such a long celebration, one had to wonder how the Rangers would react. Would they come out fired up and ready to go, in honor of the fiery Graves who knows the team members well and works with them often? Or would they be drained from the event itself and succumb to the visiting team who had no stake in the affair?
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The team came out with energy but the Thrashers held them at a scoreless standstill until the opening of the third period. This was only possible due to the great play in net of Kari Lehtonen, as the Rangers outshot the Thrashers 40-22. Seven minutes into the period, Joseph Motzko of the Thrashers sent in a one-timer for the only goal of the game thus far, and his only goal of the season.
The Rangers couldn’t find a way to break through and were forced to pull goalie Henrik Lundqvist from the net with about a minute left to play. Ilya Kovalchuk sent down an empty-netter attempt that hit the goalpost. The Rangers then quickly regrouped, and Scott Gomez sent a sneaky pass towards Markus Naslund in front of the Atlanta goal from behind the net. Naslund tied up the game with just ten seconds remaining in regulation. The Rangers found a way to get a point in the game, however they would lose the shutout.
It was a disappointing night for the Rangers, for several reasons. To begin with the players took it personally that they let down Graves and the fans by not winning on his honored night. The loss was the third straight loss for the Rangers, although they did salvage a point by sending the game into overtime. Additionally, the loss came at the hands of the woeful Thrashers, who have been one of the worst teams in the league, currently tied for the second fewest points in the NHL.
By: Jake Emen
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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