It took the Boston Bruins about seven periods to shake off the rust of the three week long Olympic break. It took multiple point efforts from six Bruins' players to get back to the team's winning ways. And it took a performance reminiscent of the Olympic hockey tournament from a bronze medal winning goalie to preserve a victory for the Bruins.
Tuukka Rask stopped 39 of the New York Rangers' 42 shots on goal, including 19 of 20 in a first period dominated by the home team, as the Boston Bruins picked up their first win since the Olympics with a 6-3 comeback victory at Madison Square Garden. Gregory Campbell notched two goals in the third period, with the first coming on a Rangers power play, stretching the Bruins' one goal lead to three late in the game. Dougie Hamilton had a goal and two assists, and linemates Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins.
Henrik Lundqvist struggled in net for the Rangers after stopping all nine Bruins' shots in the first period. Lundqvist allowed six goals on 24 shots during the final 40 minutes of action, as the Rangers dropped their second game in as many days. The Bruins were also playing their second game of the weekend, losing 4-2 to the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon.
Boston was dominated in the first period, as the Rangers had 14 of the first 15 shots on goal in the game and scored the first goal with just 3:20 gone in the tilt. But Rask was able to make many big saves early in the game, keeping the B's within one goal throughout the period. With just under two minutes left in the first stanza, the first line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Jarome Iginla connected for the first Bruins goal of the game. Krejci started the break up ice with his two forwards joining him on the attack. Krejci dumped the puck into the corner of the Rangers' zone, with Lucic charging hard after it. Lucic was able to take two Rangers' defenders into the corner with him, with the puck bouncing off the boards back to Krejci. The Bruins' center found Iginla crashing the net in front of Lundqvist, and Iginla took the feed and buried it in the net for his 18th goal of the season.
The Bruins took the momentum from that late first period goal and struck twice in the second period, taking a 3-1 lead on goals by Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg. Hamilton scored when he jumped in the offensive zone during a Bruins' rush, taking a deflected pass from Lucic, which was intended for Krejci but blocked by a Rangers' defender, and firing it past Lundqvist for his seventh goal of the season. Hamilton was also involved in the Soderberg goal, which was the culmination of a lengthy time spent in the New York end. Matt Bartkowski found Hamilton for a long slap shot in on the Rangers' netminder, with Soderberg taking the rebound in close range and scoring on the forehand side.
Brad Richards notched his 16th goal of the year for the Rangers with just over three minutes left to cut the Bruins' lead to 3-2 after two periods.
Down one goal and on the power play with eight minutes gone in the third period, the Rangers squandered not only a great chance to tie the game but also surrendered the game-winning goal on the man-advantage. Loui Eriksson was able to take the puck into the Rangers' end, with Campbell beating Richards to the front of the New York net. Campbell took a feed from Eriksson and beat Lundqvist for the short-handed game winner, giving the Bruins a 4-2 lead.
Campbell put the icing on the cake just 4:22 later, as he was credited with his second goal of the period when a shot from Daniel Paille deflected off the skate of Campbell and into the back of the Rangers' net. After video review, it was determined by the on-ice officials that Campbell was trying to establish position in front of the Rangers' net and did not intentionally kick the puck past the goalie, making the play a legal goal. Campbell came into the game with just three goals this season.
Ryan McDonagh scored a power-play goal for the Rangers with just under five minutes remaining to give New York a glimmer of hope in making a comeback, but Milan Lucic ended that hope with his 19th goal of the season with 1:36 remaining in the game. Lucic's goal was scored on a deflection of a slap shot by Bartkowski, who was looking for his first goal of his NHL career.
The win gave the Bruins a season sweep of the Rangers, and pushed the B's to a six point cushion over the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins also have two games in hand over their biggest rival.