New York, NY - It was the unlikeliest of occurrences. A seemingly harmless play as New York’s Carl Hagelin threw a backhander towards the Boston goal, the puck slowed down to a crawl as it was partially blocked by Johnny Boychuk. As Tuukka Rask shuffled to his left to stop the puck, he toe-picked and tumbled to the ice allowing the puck to slowly sneak by him and into the goal. It was the start to a season-saving 4-3 overtime win for the New York Rangers as they survived to force game 5 in Boston Saturday night.
It was the spark the Rangers needed. After watching the B’s jump to a 2-0 lead early in the second period thanks to powerplay goals from Nathan Horton and Torey Krug, Madison Square Garden fell eerily silent and it felt as if they were preparing to eulogize the home team. Hagelin’s flukey goal immediately woke everyone in the building up, and unfortunately for the Bruins, that included the Rangers.
Derek Stepan scored just 1:15 into the third period, capitalizing on some sloppy play from Zdeno Chara behind his own net, stealing the puck and wrapping the puck past a sprawling Rask. That kicked off a wild third period that saw the two teams trade goals the rest of the way in regulation. First it was Tyler Seguin, finally breaking the ice and netting his first of the post-season to give Boston back the lead with just 10-minutes remaining in the game. New York kept pushing, though, and it was a rare powerplay strike off the stick of Brian Boyle that knotted the game back up, and once again giving the MSG faithful hope that the Rangers season was not dead just yet.
Henrik Lundqvist shut the door in the extra frame as the Bruins pushed to complete the sweep. He was spectacular, making multiple stops on Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand. His play set the table for Chris Kreider’s heroics as he was able to redirect a Rick Nash feed past Rask to keep the Rangers alive.
Game 5 will be played Saturday night at 5:30 back at the TD Garden as the Bruins take another shot at moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals.