The Boston Bruins took control midway through the second period to claim a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers and gain a commanding 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semi-final on Sunday.
The best-of-seven series now shifts to New York for a pair of contests, with Game 3 scheduled for today at Madison Square Garden.
“We expect them to come harder than ever,” Bruins forward Milan Lucic said, looking ahead to the next game in New York. “We know MSG [Madison Square Garden] is going to be rocking, and once again we’re going to have to do a good job with good clean breakouts and playing in the offensive zone.”
Rookie defenseman Torey Krug, Gregory Campbell, Johnny Boychuck, Brad Marchand and Lucic each had a goal for the Bruins, while Ryan Callahan and Rick Nash were the only Rangers to beat Tuukka Rask, who was again outstanding in the Boston net, facing 37 shots.
Krug, one of three rookies pressed into duty on the Bruins’ injury-hit blueline, notched his second goal in as many playoff games to open the scoring, before Callahan beat Rask on a breakaway to send the teams into the first intermission deadlocked at one goal apiece.
Campbell and Nash, with his first of the post-season, traded goals in the second, before the Bruins seized control on Boychuk’s third of the playoffs.
Boston pulled away in the third period, with Marchand redirecting a goalmouth feed from Patrice Bergeron just 26 seconds into the frame, while Lucic completed the rout.
“I think all the pressure was on us and we had a great start,” Lucic said. “We were able to get that first goal and every time they were able to tie it up, we were able to extend the lead. Once we stopped turning the puck over at the blueline, we started to frustrate them a bit and that is going to be key for us in Game 3.”
SENATORS 2, PENGUINS 1
The Ottawa Senators clawed their way back into their Eastern Conference semi-final series against Pittsburgh on Sunday, Colin Greening’s goal in double overtime giving them a win over the Penguins in Game 3.
After losing the first two games of the series and trailing 1-0 on the night to Tyler Kennedy’s second-period goal, Ottawa were just seconds away from losing a third straight to top seeds the Penguins.
However, Daniel Alfredsson scored with 29 seconds left in regulation, despite the Senators being shorthanded, before Greening’s goal cut the deficit in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.
Game 4 is in Ottawa tomorrow.
Sidney Crosby was coming off a hat-trick that gave the Penguins control in Game 2, but he was held without a point on Sunday.
Craig Anderson made 49 saves for the Senators, while Tomas Vokoun had 46 for the visitors.
The Senators also got a boost from the return of forward Jason Spezza, who had not played since January after undergoing back surgery. He was on the ice for just under 19 minutes and did not register a point.
Greening has now scored in all three games against Pittsburgh.