NEW YORK (AP) — Brandon Pirri is fitting in perfectly in his first season with the New York Rangers.
“I’m glad we’re the ones who got him,” Derek Stepan said after Pirri scored twice to help the Rangers beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Wednesday night. “That’s for sure.”
Pirri has four goals and two assists in seven games. The left wing signed with the Rangers as a free agent after splitting last season with Florida and Anaheim.
“You guys can all see he can shoot the puck,” Stepan said. “He’s got a knack for the net. It’s not easy to score goals in this league and he seems to be in those areas to score. That’s a difficult thing and, to me, that’s a skill. If you have it, it’s special and it’s rare.”
Rick Nash, Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey also scored for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots. The Rangers won their third straight game, overcoming a 2-0 deficit to improve to 5-2-0.
David Pastrnak and Austin Czarnik scored for Boston. The Bruins have lost three straight to drop to 3-4-0.
“You know you sure are not happy with the outcome,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We are here to win hockey games and not pat ourselves on the back when we think you deserve it.”
Zane McIntyre made 26 saves in his first NHL start. He was called up prior to Boston’s 5-0 home loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night to back up Malcolm Subban due to injuries to Tuukka Risk and Anton Khudobin.
“Zane played unbelievable,” Boston defenseman Torey Krug said. “He made some big saves for us even when we were down 3-2, 4-2, 5-2. He kept going. He was still coming up with some big saves. It could have been a lot worse. Shame on us for not helping him out more.”
Down 2-0 after the first, the Rangers scored three times in the final 10:44 of the second.
Nash began the comeback with a power-play goal at 9:16. He curled to the net before corralling a rebound of Stepan’s point shot and flipping it over McIntyre for his third of the season.
Hayes tied it with 3:25 left in the second, banking a shot from behind the net off of McIntyre’s pants.
Pirri’s power-play goal with 36 seconds left made it 3-2. He ripped a shot from the right circle that was in the net before McIntrye could get his glove up. New York finished the game 2 for 6 on the man advantage, while the Bruins were 0 for 1.
“We worked hard and we drew a lot of penalties,” Pirri said. “When you get that many (man advantage) opportunities you have to cash in. It brings a lot of momentum even if you’re not scoring but you’re generating chances. So that’s what we focus on every time and then from there you let the skill take over.”
It was not all positive for the Rangers in the second, with Dan Girardi missing two shifts following a hit from Pastrnak, who was assessed a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head. Girardi leaped in the air to play a loose puck in the neutral zone and, as he came down, Pastrnak drove his shoulder into the upper body of the New York defenseman.
Girardi said he “didn’t really see him coming until the last second,” but noted the hit landed “in the front of the face so it wasn’t like a forehead or side of the head” blow. He added he underwent concussion protocol.
Pirri made it 4-2 2:23 into the third with his fourth of the season. Vesey scored on a tap-in 43 seconds later.
The Bruins opened the scoring Pastrnak’s fifth of the season 10 seconds into the game. The lead grew to 2-0 14:34 later when Czarnik scored his first goal in the NHL. Czarnik fired a shot from inside the blue line that New York defenseman Brady Skjei blocked, but Henrik Lundqvist appeared to lose track of the puck and it bounced across the goal line.
“We didn’t start the way we wanted,” New York coach Alain Vigneault said. “We know.”
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