The Atlanta Thrashers scored two goals in 15 seconds, and take a 2-0 lead on the New York Rangers into the second intermission at Madison Square Garden, in a game the Rangers very much need to win if they want to be secure in their playoff hopes.
Rob Schremp scored the game's first goal at 7:42. After Dustin Byfuglien set the former Islander forward up for a solid backhand chance that Henrik Lundqvist stopped, Schremp took a great, cross-ice pass from recently called up rookie Andrey Zubarev (who got is first National Hockey League point) to make it 1-0. It was Schremp's 13th of the season.
Andrew Ladd followed up on the very next rush, broke through the defense after poking the puck away from Dan Girardi, and backhanded it by Henrik Lundqvist at 7:57. It was Ladd's team-leading 28th goal of the season. The defense tandem of Girardi and Marc Staal looked very vulnerable on that. The Thrashers came close to a third on a 4-on-4 turnover that set Byfuglien free, but Lundqvist made a great save.
It was the Thrashers who started out well in the second after the Rangers had a solid start to the first, but New York got things going fairly quickly. In this period it was the Rangers who struck iron, as Brian Boyle hit the post five and a half minutes into the frame.
The Rangers and Thrashers both had multiple abbreviated power plays in the second period. After the game went to 2-0 when Zubarev went off for holding at 8:48, but Vinny Prospal took a boarding minor 15 seconds later. Neither team scored on the 15 second power plays given to them.
Dan Girardi tripped Alexander Burmistrov at 11:32, then Nik Antropov tripped right back, knocking down Ryan McDonagh. Once again, the two teams failed to capitalize in the 1:29-lasting power plays, despite the Rangers having some great chances, including a just missed empty net that defenseman Johnny Oduya saved for Atlanta from Brandon Dubinsky.
New York will start the third period with a power play of 1:32. Brian Boyle came across the middle of the Thrashers zone, and Byfuglien interfered with him at 19:32. The Rangers are now 0-for-3 on the power play, with the Thrashers going 0-for-2.