For about 30 minutes Thursday night at TD Garden, the Bruins and New York Rangers played like two teams that hadn’t met in the playoffs for 40 years. They eyed one another warily, cautiously waiting for someone to make a move.
Befitting a rivalry that has seen big moments during the regular season over the years, the intensity eventually picked and carried long into the night, once again ending in dramatic fashion for the B’s.
Brad Marchand’s goal 15:40 into overtime gave the Bruins a 3-2 victory, lifted the roof off the Garden for the second time in four nights and put the Bruins ahead 1-0 in the best-of-seven series.
It capped a frantic overtime for Boston, which kept loads of pressure on Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist before finally breaking through when Patrice Bergeron (who else?) broke free up the right side and left a perfect feed to a hustling Marchand, who redirected it into the net for his first goal of the 2013 playoffs.
Fortunately for both teams there are two days off before Game 2 Sunday afternoon in the Garden. Now that they’ve gotten the pleasantries out of the way, there should be no awkward feeling out period like there was early in this one.
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The careful, lackluster play essentially ended when Zdeno Chara’s wobbly slap shot leaked through Lundqvist 12:23 into the second period to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead and snap Lundqvist’s scoreless streak at over 152 minutes.
The Rangers stunned the TD Garden faithful twice in a span of 15.3 seconds, first tying it when Ryan McDonagh’s shot snuck through a crowd with 1.3 ticks remaining in the second. They then went ahead on Derek Stepan’s tally 14 seconds into the third.
Some of the fans may have been stunned once again when Boston got the tying goal on the power play less than three minutes later, for it was defenseman Torey Krug – rushed into duty due to a litany of injuries along the blue line – who smacked one past Lundqvist. Jonny Boychuk’s shot in the final second of regulation clanged off the post to Lundqvist’s right.
Krug and his fellow defenseman, particularly ring leader Zdeno Chara (one goal, one assist in a remarkable 38-plus minutes of ice time), played some admirable hockey in front of Tuukka Rask, who had 33 saves. Lundqvist, who saw 16 shots in less than 16 minutes in OT, made 45 saves for New York.