By Jim Cerny, BlueshirtsUnited.com
The Rangers won their third straight game Tuesday night, but the victory came in far from conventional fashion. New York blew a three-goal third period lead, but came away with a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden when Ryan Callahan beat Tuukka Rask in the fourth round of the shootout to send the visitors home victorious.
The Rangers seemingly-safe 3-0 third period lead was cut to 3-1 on a David Krejci goal at 8:44. Then with Rask pulled for a sixth attacker, Boston scored twice off scrambles in a span of 48 seconds to shockingly force overtime. Nathan Horton scored at 18:29, before Brad Marchand tied it with 42.3 seconds to play.
Henrik Lundqvist, who was spectacular much of the night and finished with a season-high 37 saves, regrouped and made four big saves in the five-minute overtime and then stopped three of four shooters in the shootout to backstop the Rangers season-high third consecutive win.
After Rick Nash scored in Round Two of the shootout to give the Rangers a 1-0 advantage, Marchand blasted a forehand shot past Lundqvist in the third round to keep the Bruins alive. Lundqvist bounced back to stuff Krejci with a right-pad save in Round Four before Callahan hammered a slap shot past Rask to ensure the Rangers a two-point night.
The victory pushed the Rangers (7-5-0) two games over the .500 mark for the first time this season. They have won both of their overtime games this season---ironically each coming against the Bruins.
With Boston outshooting New York 9-2 and outchancing them by a sizeable margin early in the first period, Lundqvist was the difference, keeping the game scoreless until Nash and Carl Hagelin teamed up on a gorgeous goal at 10:37 to give the visitors the lead. Nash caught a Dan Girardi pass in stride at the Bruins blueline, bulled to the net, and while falling down made a perfect pass to an open Hagelin on left wing. With Rask pulled out of position by Nash, Hagelin slid the puck into the gaping cage for his fourth goal of the season---and third in the past two games---to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
Lundqvist finished that first period with 11 saves, and he added another 12 in the second period---including a sensational right-pad stop on Patrice Bergeron's shorthanded breakaway in the final minute of the middle stanza---as the Rangers doubled their advantage to carry a 2-0 lead into the second intermission.
Derek Stepan scored the second Rangers' goal, intercepting a Milan Lucic pass at center ice and then streaking into the Boston zone where his left wing shot eluded Rask at 8:17 for his second goal of the season---and first point in four games.
The Rangers bridged the latter stages of the second period and early portions of the third with 1:18 worth of a 5-on-3 power play. However the Bruins---who own the league's No. 1 ranked penalty kill---successfully killed the penalties to Lucic and Marchand; but before Boston could gain any momentum from the kills, Anton Stralman scored a clutch goal 2:07 into the third period to boost the Rangers lead to 3-0.
Stralman was able to beat Rask from right wing on a wrist shot inside the far post for his first goal of the season, and first in 40 regular season games dating back to January 31, 2012. The score proved to be hugely important as David Krejci ruined Lundqvist's shutout bid at 8:44, potting his fourth goal after Lundqvist made a lunging toe save on Dennis Seidenberg's blast. Krejci's goal came one second after the Rangers had killed off a Nash hooking penalty and trimmed the visitors' lead to 3-1. And then the Bruins scored their pair with Rask pulled for the extra attacker, sending the game to overtime, making Stralman's goal even that much more important.
Though they won't gain many style points from this win, the Rangers now head back to New York for a three-game homestand which begins Thursday night with a tilt against the Islanders.