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Boston
Bruins
53-19-10
New York
Rangers
43-30-9

39 SOG
30 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
BOS
NYR
game recap

Rangers put away Bruins, run winning streak to three

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 1:50 AM

• PHOTO GALLERY

By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com

Nikolai Zherdev’s goal late in the third period lifted the Rangers to their third straight win, a hugely important 4-3 victory over the league-leading Boston Bruins on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts had not won three in a row in nearly two months, since the period from Jan. 10 to Jan. 16.

Victory did not come easily for the home team on Sunday, as the Rangers let a two-goal lead slip away in the third and then had to successfully kill off an interference penalty on Sean Avery in the game’s final 1:22. But the Rangers persevered, and are now 3-1-1 since John Tortorella took over as head coach two weeks ago.

“We bent, we struggled for several minutes there in the third, but we still found a way to win a hockey game,” said Tortorella. “You’re never going to be playing a perfect hockey game. So it’s about finding ways to get points with the short strokes now here at the end of the year. I’m happy with the club.”

Zherdev snapped a 3-3 tie with 6:22 remaining in the third period after an aggressive rush up ice by defenseman Marc Staal. Though Staal -- surrounded by four Bruins at the time -- ended his rush by firing his shot just wide of the net, Boston goalie Manny Fernandez put himself out of position by reaching for the shot. When the puck caromed off the back wall and to the opposite side of the net on right wing, Zherdev beat everyone to the rebound and snapped a shot past a diving Fernandez for his 19th goal, and a 4-3 Blueshirts lead.

“They were just kind of standing there and let me walk right through, and I tried to get a shot on net, missed, but the puck went right to Z,” explained Staal. “It was a big goal for us.”

The Rangers had carried a 3-1 lead into the third period, but that advantage disappeared within the first four minutes of the final stanza. Zdeno Chara drove a left-point slap shot past Henrik Lundqvist for his 16th goal of the season during a 4-on-4 sequence at 2:12 of the third to cut the Rangers’ lead to 3-2. And then at 3:47, Michael Ryder potted his 23rd off a crisp cross-crease power play feed from Marc Savard, and the game was tied 3-3.

Although the Bruins pressed for the go-ahead goal and clearly had the Rangers on their collective heels, Lundqvist was stout between the pipes. Lundqvist’s solid goaltending helped the Rangers regain their composure, and set the stage for Zherdev’s goal later in the period.

“I think it’s an important part of hockey how you handle momentum swings,” stated Tortorella. “We were tentative for a bit there, but we still found a way to win.”

Playing in their first home game at MSG since being acquired by the Rangers earlier in the week,  Nik Antropov, Derek Morris, and Avery all made positive contributions. Antropov, who was selected as the First Star of the contest, was an offensive force with a goal and an assist, while Avery and Morris each chipped in with an assist.

“Playing here at The Garden is something different than playing in Toronto,” said Antropov, the ex-Maple Leaf. “The fans are into it the whole game and it’s a great atmosphere. And I am glad we won with this great fan support we have.”

After a scoreless, tight-checking first period in which both teams were limited to only seven shots on goal apiece, the Rangers were able to score three times in the middle stanza to grab a 3-1 lead after forty minutes of play.

Antropov opened the scoring at 3:01 of the second, finishing a pretty give-and-go down low with Chris Drury for his 22nd goal of the season -- and his first as a Ranger. Stationed inside the Bruins blueline, Antropov made a crisp pass to Drury, who was deep in the left circle. Drury then quickly zipped a return pass to Antropov, who cut to the net, and the skilled winger snapped a shot over Fernandez’s shoulder to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

For Antropov, it was the continuation of a strong start in his Rangers’ home debut. He had a pair of excellent scoring chances from in-close during the first period, though he was denied each time by Fernandez.

Two minutes after Antropov’s goal, the Bruins were able to tie the game following a Rangers giveaway in the offensive zone. Drury made a drop pass along the right wing boards and Chara stepped in to intercept the feed. Chara then sprung Chuck Kobasew with a perfect outlet pass, and Kobasew finished his breakaway by beating Lundqvist with a backhander at 5:01. Kobasew’s 16th goal pulled the Bruins even 1-1.

Skating on their third power-play of the afternoon, the Rangers regained the lead at the 12:12 mark of the second. Newcomers Antropov and Morris both played roles in the goal that upped the Rangers’ advantage to 2-1.

Morris fired a right-wing pass to Antropov in the circle, and Antropov quickly sent a pass down low to Scott Gomez. From along the goal line, Gomez sent a shot towards the net that banked off Fernandez and into the cage for his 15th goal of the season. Both Antropov and Morris were credited with assists on the score.

The Rangers would grab their first two-goal lead of the match at 16:26 thanks, in equal parts, to aggressive work down low by their forwards as well as a bizarre misplay by Fernandez.

The line of Avery, Ryan Callahan, and Lauri Korpikoski persistently chased the puck deep in the Bruins’ end before Callahan snapped a right-wing shot up high that handcuffed Fernandez. Boston’s netminder was not aware that the puck was trapped in his sweater, and as he spun around and away from the on-rushing Callahan, the puck fell to the ice and was knocked over the goal line by Fernandez’s leg, giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead.

Callahan was credited with his 15th goal of the season on the play, and Avery earned the primary assist. The crowd erupted into a loud roar upon the announcement of Avery’s first point since returning to the Blueshirts last Tuesday.

At the time, it seemed that Callahan’s score might put the Bruins away, but a double-minor penalty to Dan Girardi late in the second that carried over into the third period set the stage for Boston’s rally. Fortunately for the Blueshirts, the Rangers showed excellent resolve and were able to pull out an extremely important two points before heading to Carolina where they will face the Hurricanes on Monday night.

“Everybody knew that this was a huge two points for us,” explained Antropov. “I am just happy that we ended up winning. It was a great game for us.”

scoring summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
03:01
NYR
Nik Antropov (22) Wrist shot - ASST: Chris Drury (27), Wade Redden (19)
1 - 0 NYR
05:01
BOS
Chuck Kobasew (16) Backhand shot - ASST: Zdeno Chara (24)
1 - 1 Tie
12:12
NYR
PPG - Scott Gomez (15) Wrist shot - ASST: Nik Antropov (27), Derek Morris (8)
2 - 1 NYR
16:26
NYR
Ryan Callahan (15) Tip-in - ASST: Sean Avery (8), Lauri Korpikoski (8)
3 - 1 NYR
3rd Period
02:12
BOS
Zdeno Chara (16) Slapshot - ASST: Aaron Ward (7), P.J. Axelsson (20)
3 - 2 NYR
03:47
BOS
PPG - Michael Ryder (23) Wrist shot - ASST: Marc Savard (52), Patrice Bergeron (24)
3 - 3 Tie
13:38
NYR
Nikolay Zherdev (19) Wrist shot - ASST: Marc Staal (9)
4 - 3 NYR
penalty summary
1st Period
00:11
NYR
Chris Drury  Holding against  Marc Savard
05:51
BOS
Zdeno Chara  Interference against  Sean Avery
2nd Period
05:04
NYR
Colton Orr  Fighting (maj) against  Shawn Thornton
05:04
BOS
Shawn Thornton  Fighting (maj) against  Colton Orr
08:08
BOS
Aaron Ward  Hooking against  Brandon Dubinsky
11:13
BOS
Marc Savard  Hooking against  Brandon Dubinsky
19:14
BOS
David Krejci  Roughing against  Chris Drury
19:14
NYR
Chris Drury  Roughing against  David Krejci
19:14
NYR
Chris Drury  Roughing against  David Krejci
19:14
BOS
David Krejci  Roughing against  Chris Drury
19:57
NYR
Dan Girardi  Hi stick - double minor against  Michael Ryder
3rd Period
01:05
BOS
Chuck Kobasew  Hooking against  Ryan Callahan
18:38
NYR
Sean Avery  Interference against  Andrew Ference
goalie stats
Manny Fernandez
Manny Fernandez
14-6-3
SA: 30TOI: 58:27
Saves: 26EV: 20 - 23
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 5
SV%: .867SH: 2 - 2
Henrik Lundqvist
SA: 39TOI: 60:00
Saves: 36EV: 30 - 32
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 5
SV%: .923SH: 2 - 2
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