The last time the Rangers visited TD Garden defenseman Ryan McDonagh was in the midst of a standout performance when his night ended prematurely, blasted by Boston's Andrew Ference and KO'd from the game early in the overtime period. McDonagh was down on the ice for several minutes desperately trying to catch his breath before being helped back to the dressing room. Ference received a five-minute charging major, and the Rangers went on to win the game when Marian Gaborik buried a 4-on-3 goal during the ensuing power play.
Now, three weeks later, McDonagh and the Rangers face Ference and the Bruins again tonight at TD Garden, but McDonagh swears he will not be seeking retribution for Ference's illegal, and dangerous, hit.
"Sure I've thought about it, but I am more worried about winning the game," said McDonagh following the morning skate Tuesday.
When asked if he had any "hard feelings" towards Ference, McDonagh simply answered, "No."
Earlier Tuesday morning Bruins head coach Claude Julien similarly dismissed any bad blood between the teams over the hit on McDonagh.
"I don't think it will carry over," said Julien. "I think both teams realize it wasn't malicious. The page has been turned on that. (Ference) served his suspension, realized he made a mistake, and fortunately (McDonagh) was OK to play the next game. That's what matters. To me, (the hit) is not a key part of tonight's game."
As for this evening's contest pitting the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, McDonagh expects yet another tight, gritty battle between the Rangers and Bruins.
"I'm sure it's going to come down to the final few minutes, and it will be a tight-checking game with not a lot of opportunities given up by both teams," explained McDonagh, who is fine after tweaking his knee in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Capitals. "They're the champs for a reason. They went through the playoff grind and came out on top, and you have to give them credit for that. This is a whole new season, though, and we are not thinking big picture yet. We just want to keep compiling points and picking up wins."
Share your thoughts below on the Ference hit, what might happen tonight, and about what McDonagh had to say.