It took 40 years for Boston and New York to face off again in the playoffs, and now it looks like being over in a hurry, as the Bruins beat the Rangers 2-1 on Tuesday to take a 3-0 series lead.
In the day’s other playoff game, San Jose beat Los Angeles 2-1 to square their series at 2-2.
Daniel Paille scored the tiebreaking goal with 3 minutes, 31 seconds left in the third period to take what has historically been a nearly unbeatable series lead.
Only three NHL teams have come back from 3-0 down and the Rangers will try to start that comeback at home today.
The Bruins need no reminding of the threat, as they led Philadelphia 3-0 in the 2010 playoffs and lost 4-3.
“We can talk about it all we want, but that’s in the past,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We had to live with that and we still have to live with that.”
Boston also nearly blew a 3-1 series edge in the opening round this year against Toronto, before rallying from a three-goal deficit in the third period and capturing Game 7 in overtime.
“The Toronto series, I didn’t think our team was in the zone the way it is right now,” Julien said. “I anticipate — knowing my team — that we’re going to come out the same next game, and certainly not be the Jekyll and Hyde team that we were in the first round.”
The Bruins trailed 1-0 heading into the third, but Johnny Boychuk tied it with his fourth goal of the playoffs after he netted just one in 44 regular-season games. It was the first time in three years that the Rangers had lost in regulation when leading after two periods.
“We played a pretty strong game, but we came up short again and it definitely hurts,” New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist said.
Taylor Pyatt had made it 1-0 in the second period for the Rangers, who had won their previous nine home games.
Meanwhile, San Jose’s Brent Burns helped the Sharks jump off to a fast start with his second goal of the post-season, setting up the series-squaring 2-1 win.
Logan Couture followed up his overtime game-winner in Game 3 with his fifth power-play goal of the playoffs to add to the lead, while Antti Niemi made 22 saves as the Sharks matched the Kings’ two home wins to open the series with two of their own.
Mike Richards scored a power-play goal for the Kings, who have lost 10 of 11 road games dating to the end of the regular season.
Game 5 is today in Los Angeles, when the Sharks will look to end a streak of four straight wins by the home team in the series.
San Jose jumped on top early when Joe Thornton stole the puck and fed Burns, whose shot was blocked. Thornton came up with the loose puck and slid a perfect cross-ice pass to Burns, who was not denied on his second chance, beating Jonathon Quick with a one-timer.
Couture gave the Sharks a 2-0 lead early in the second period, deflecting a point shot by Dan Boyle past Quick, while Colin Fraser was in the penalty box for roughing up Andrew Desjardins.
The Kings outshot the Sharks 14-2 in the third period, holding San Jose without a shot for nearly 13 minutes, but could not get the equalizer against Niemi.