Final: Boston 3, New York 2 (OT)
Recap: The Bruins love opening the scoring then giving up the lead. They did that again on Thursday night. Zdeno Chara scored his second goal of the playoffs midway through the middle frame, but Ryan McDonagh tallied with 1.3 ticks left to send the game tied 1-1 into the intermission.
In the third, it took just 14 seconds for New York to go ahead as Derek Stepan scored on a bit of a softy in the slot, making it 2-1 New York. But the B's responded less than three minutes later, as Torey Krug buried his first NHL goal on a shot from the point to tie things up.
Boston dominated the overtime and finally broke through 15:40 in, with Brad Marchand's first goal of the postseason settling the series opener.
Series: Boston leads 1-0
Playoff Records: Boston 5-3; New York 4-4
Key Play of the Game: In his 38th minute of action, Chara made a nice breakup of a pass near the B's defensive blue line and poke it forward into the neutral zone, sending Marchand and Patrice Bergeron the other way. No. 37 set up No. 63 perfectly, and Henrik Lundqvist was helpless to stop Marchand's bid from the doorstep.
Connolly's Commendations: Marchand broke out on the score sheet and was so very clearly the B's best forward, buzzing around the offensive zone, showing off some seriously sick stick-handling moves multiple times. He finished with a goal, an assist and three shots on net.
The B's hulking captain was a beast once again. Rick Nash's playoff woes continued thanks to Chara and Co. Down the other end, the 6-foot-9 defenseman matched Marchand's output with a goal and an assist.
Tuukka Rask recovered from letting in two iffy goals by -- once again -- coming up with a handful of incredibly-timely saves in the third and overtime.
Lundqvist certainly deserves a pat on the back for his efforts, which saw the Swedish netminder stop 45 shots in the setback.
Pretty phenomenal NHL playoff debut for Krug, who didn't show any hesitation when it comes to playing his aggressive, offensive-minded game.
Connolly's Critiques: While the Bruins' three rookie d-men were expected to be a cause for concern, it was two of their veterans that had not-so-swell showings. Adam McQuaid made some poor decisions in all three zones and had one instance in which he fell down retrieving a puck in his own zone and had many fearing the Rangers would capitalize.
Johnny Boychuk was the other proven defender who had a rough go of it. After getting his bell rung on a boarding infraction by Taylor Pyatt, No. 55 wasn't the same.
Notes: The Bruins have seen a rookie d-man score his first NHL goal in back-to-back games. This is the first playoff matchup between the two clubs since 1973. Dennis Seidenberg, Andy Ference and Wade Redden were all absent.
Final Thoughts: After a regular-season-like feel prevailed for the first two periods, the pace picked up at just the right time. The Bruins really dominated the extra session, which Rangers coach John Tortorella (Melrose, Mass.) attributed to an early overtime power play for the Black and Gold. The good news, beyond the win, is how well the young blueliners asked to step in and step up have done, as well as the fact that Lundqvist -- despite his glut of saves -- looked a little more human than he has in previous matchups against Boston.
Next: The B's and Blueshirts will meet at TD Garden for Game 2 at 3 o'clock.