Bruins open Eastern Conference semifinals with win over Rangers
First blood goes to the Bruins.
Brad Marchand scored his first goal of the playoffs at the 15:40 mark of overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series Thursday night at the TD Garden. Boston leads the best-of-seven series, 1-0. Game 2 is Sunday afternoon in Boston.
Marchand finished a counterattack with centerman Patrice Bergeron by tapping a feed under Henrik Lundqvist (45 saves).
The series opener between the Original Six franchises was not the mosh pit most expect the series to become. Instead, the two teams engaged in a feeling-out process.
Zdeno Chara opened the scoring in the series at the 12:23 mark of the second period with a slap shot Lundqvist never could quite control and inadvertently knocked into the goal. The goal ended Lundqvist’s playoff shutout streak at 152:23.
Ryan McDonagh tied the game with 1.3 seconds left in the period. The defenseman finished a sequence which began with a Rick Nash wraparound with his first career Stanley Cup playoff goal.
After the initial shot, Nash broke up a Tyler Seguin clearing attempt, and the puck landed on McDonagh’s stick.
The Rangers took a 2-1 lead 14 seconds into the third period on Derek Stepan’s third of the playoffs. Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff against Stepan to start the period but Marchand was unable to get the puck into the Rangers’ end. The Rangers’ top line counterattacked, finishing with Stepan one-timing Carl Hagelin’s feed past Tuukka Rask (33 saves).
The lead didn’t last long.
Torey Krug, one of three rookie defensemen in the lineup for the Bruins alongside Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski due to injuries, tied the game 2:41 after Stepan’s goal with his first playoff goal in his first NHL game.
Interestingly, head coach John Tortorella split up his normal top defense pair of McDonagh and Dan Girardi. Girardi started the game paired with Michael Del Zotto, while McDonagh played with Anton Stralman.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.