BOSTON – Good things happen for the Bruins in overtime. Even for Brad Marchand.
Boston’s leading goal-scorer during the regular season scored his first of the post-season with 4:20 left in the first overtime and the Bruins beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Thursday night in the first playoff game in 40 years between the Original Six teams.
“It’s always frustrating” not to score, Marchand said, “but there’s so many other areas of the game. It’s always nice to get the first one and you hope you just keep going.”
The win was Boston’s third straight in overtime, and New York’s third straight loss in extra time.
“I thought it was pretty even going into the overtime,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “But we got spanked in the overtime.”
Both teams advanced with Game 7 victories Monday night. The Rangers beat the Washington Capitals 5-0 behind Henrik Lundqvist’s second consecutive shutout. The Bruins overcame a three-goal deficit with 11 minutes left in regulation and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Patrice Bergeron’s goal in overtime.
“I really thought our guys turned the page on that historical game,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
Marchand scored on a pass from Bergeron. Marchand had carried the puck up the right side, passed it to Bergeron and kept going toward the net. Bergeron passed across the slot and Marchand tipped it past Lundqvist from the left side of the crease.
“I told Marchand when we were pretty close to each other on the wall to go back door,” Bergeron said. “It was good to see him score because I thought he had some pretty good looks tonight.”
Boston outshot New York 16-5 in overtime.
“I kind of knew he was coming in the middle, but I was just too locked in on the puck,” Lundqvist said. “Sooner or later when you face a lot of chances like that, you’re going to make a mistake.”
The Bruins carried the play throughout overtime. They applied constant pressure, but couldn’t score during a power play when Derek Dorsett was penalized for interference at 2:20 of overtime.
Boston nearly won in regulation, but Johnny Boychuk’s shot from the right point clanged off the left post with one-tenth of a second remaining. Then he hit the left post at the other end of the ice at 6:34 of overtime.
Zdeno Chara gave Boston a 1-0 lead at 12:23 of the second before Ryan McDonagh tied it with 1.3 seconds left in the period. Derek Stepan put the Rangers ahead 2-1 just 14 seconds into the third period, and Torey Krug tied it on a power play with his first NHL goal in four career games.
“For his first goal, he couldn’t have asked for better timing,” Julien said.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals is set for Sunday night in Boston.
On Thursday, the Bruins played without three injured veteran defencemen: Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden. Three rookies started on defence: Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Krug, who was called up from Providence of the AHL after Seidenberg was hurt early in the first period Monday night.
The Bruins ended Lundqvist’s shutout streak at 152 minutes, 23 seconds when he gave up a Chara’s soft goal. Lundqvist appeared to have a good view of the 50-foot slap shot from just in front of the middle of the blue line and got a piece of the puck, but it trickled by him.
That lead nearly held up through the second period. But when Boychuk passed it from in front of his net to Tyler Seguin in the right circle, Rick Nash hit Sequin’s stick and the puck went to McDonagh at the left point.
McDonagh’s rising slap shot soared over the right arm of goalie Tuukka Rask. Stepan then made it 2-1 on a 30-foot shot from the slot through Rask’s legs, two goals in 15.3 seconds.
Krug tied the game with teammate David Krejci in front of the net trying to screen Lundqvist. The shot from just inside the top of the left circle went under Lundqvist’s left arm.
Then Marchand beat Lundqvist to win in the extra session.
“It was a tough overtime period for us. They came hard,” Lundqvist said. “My record is terrible in overtime, but I’ve just got to stick with it, play my game and hopefully it’ll turn around.”
Notes: Stepan’s goal was the sixth against the Bruins in the first two minutes of a period in their eight playoff games. … The teams last met in the playoffs in 1973 when the Rangers won the first-round series in five games. The previous year, they faced each other in the Stanley Cup finals, and the Bruins won in six. … Both teams’ leading goal scorers in the regular season had no goals in eight playoff games heading in. New York’s Nash stretched that unwanted string to nine, but Marchand’s goal won the game. . … Boston’s Jaromir Jagr, a former Ranger, is the only player on either team who had been born the last time the teams met in the playoffs on April 10, 1973.