BOSTON -- Brad Marchand picked a good time to score his first goal of the playoffs.
Marchand beat Mats Zuccarello to an open spot out front as he went hard to the net on a 2-on-2, and Patrice Bergeron found him with a perfect pass out front from the right corner. Marchand held a good stick and put it five-hole past Henrik Lundqvist with 4:20 left in overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win and a 1-0 series lead over the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Boston had tied the game at 2-2, just 2:55 into the third, as defenseman Torey Krug scored in his first career NHL playoff game. It came with 15 seconds left on a Bruins power play. Krug took a point-to-point pass from Hamilton, stepped up into the top of the left circle, and fired a shot past Lundqvist with traffic out front.
Krug's goal came nearly three minutes after the Rangers scored their second goal in a 15.3-second span -- in two different periods, of course.
Derek Stepan gave new York a 2-1 lead, just 14 seconds into the third period, as he beat Tuukka Rask with a low shot from the high slot that somehow snuck under his pads. Carl Hagelin took the puck into the Bruins' zone down to the right half-wall, and sent a pass back to Stepan, who let it rip as both Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr seemed uninterested in getting back to prevent the shot.
The Rangers scored a late second-period goal to send the game into the third tied at 1-1, thanks to Ryan McDonagh's shot from the left point that beat Rask top-left with 1.3 seconds left in the period
It came as the result of Tyler Seguin unable to clear the puck from his own zone, after Rick Nash started a rush down the right wing all the way from his own zone, where Brian Boyle won a Rangers face off. Zdeno Chara was not on the ice to end the period -- he had been matched up with Nash all game until that point -- allowing Nash to enter the Bruins' zone with ease, leading to McDonagh's eventual shot from the point, moments later, that tied the game.
The Bruins had taken a 1-0 lead with 7:37 left in the second after Chara blasted a shot from the high slot with nobody in between him and Lundqvist. The Rangers goaltender made the initial save, but as it was under him, he accidentally knocked it in as he went to lay on his back.
Talking Points by Joe Haggerty:
GOLD STAR: Zdeno Chara was a dominant force for the Bruins with so many injuries along their blue line, and finished with 38:02 of ice time, a goal and an assist, a game-high nine shots on net and six hits along with two blocked shots. While the young baby Bruins defenseman will get plenty of credit for stepping up and filling in the void of Dennis Seidenberg, Matt Bartkowski and Wade Redden, it was Chara that will need to lead the way if the Bruins are going to have success. Ironically it was a knuckling shot from the high slot that beat Henrik Lundqvist for the Chara goal rather than one of his typical giant blasts from the point. In his career with the Bruins, Chara’s Game 1 effort vs. the Rangers could be his very best playoff effort.
BLACK EYE: Brad Richards dropped to the fourth line before the series, and finished with one shot on net in 12:57 of ice time for the Rangers. How the mighty have fallen after he was one of the most sought after players in free agency a couple of years ago, and for a Rangers team that could sorely use his offense right about now. Perhaps he’ll play his way out of the John Tortorella dog house at some point in the series, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be trending that way.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins might have buckled in the recent past when they didn’t score on an overtime power play, and failed to cash in when they were hitting posts in overtime while dominating play. But the Bruins kept at it while waiting for the Rangers to make a mistake in overtime, and finally jumped all over them when Ryan McDonagh made a bad pinch on a play in the extra session. That left Mats Zuccarello trying to cover Brad Marchand during an odd man rush, and turned into the Chara poke check to Bergeron and Marchand odd-man rush into the Nose Face Killah’s first goal of the playoffs.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand played easily his best game of the playoffs for the Bruins, and finished with his first goal of this year’s postseason as an overtime game-winner. He was also taking the puck to the net with better aggression and dangle control, and had a couple of rushes that ended with good finishing chances as he weaved through defenders. The chirping and trash-talking portion of his game has been calm during the playoffs, and he seemed a shadow of himself in the first series against Toronto. But he finally looked like the same agitating force of nature for the Bruins in Game 1 against the Rangers.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3-11 – the record for Henrik Lundqvist in playoff games that go to overtime in the most interesting, quirky stat of the day.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s a whole new series and we’re happy to play the Rangers. They’re a very good team, and it’s a very good battle. It’s nice to finally get one there and get the monkey off the back, and hopefully they keep coming.” –Brad Marchand, happy to put the Maple Leafs series to bed and start the second round vs. the Rangers with an overtime game-winner.