The New York Rangers will try to bounce back from an overtime loss when they visit the Boston Bruins on Sunday for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Although the rivalry between the Rangers and Bruins goes back to the days of the NHL's Original Six, this series marks the first time the clubs are meeting in the playoffs in 40 years. Their last postseason encounter was in the 1973 quarterfinals, when New York downed Boston in five games.
Boston, which is 6-3 in nine all-time playoff series against the Rangers, grabbed the early lead in this best-of-seven series, taking Thursday's Game 1 clash in a 3-2 OT decision.
Brad Marchand netted the winner at 15:40 of overtime as the fourth-seeded Bruins took Game 1 at TD Garden. Patrice Bergeron, who netted the tying goal and overtime winner in Boston's Game 7 win over Toronto in the opening round, skated down the right wing and from the low circle he fed it to the front where Marchand tipped it in for the win.
For Marchand, it was his first goal of the playoffs and only his second point.
"I thought Brad, personally, that was one of his better games of the playoffs," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "That's the Brad Marchand that we know and he's capable of playing like that every night."
Marchand and Zdeno Chara each had a goal and an assist while Torey Krug also lit the lamp for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask stopped 33 shots in the win.
Boston thoroughly dominated the extra period, outshooting New York 16-5, with the 16th shot finally making it past a stalwart Henrik Lundqvist after a Derick Brassard pass on a rush in the Boston end missed its target and the Bruins went the other way.
Lundqvist turned aside 45 shots in a losing effort and has posted a 1.76 goals against average and .945 save percentage in these playoffs. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner was coming off consecutive shutouts in Games 6 and 7 of New York's opening-round win over third-seeded Washington.
Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh each scored in the setback.
"We never regrouped in the overtime," said New York head coach John Tortorella. "It was a surge that we couldn't stop and if we want to win our next game here we need to be better. We got spanked in the overtime."
Rangers forwards Rick Nash and Brad Richards both went without a point in Game 1 and the club is still waiting for its two most expensive skaters to chip in on offense.
Nash, who comes with an annual salary cap hit of $7.8 million, led New York with 21 goals in the regular season but has managed just three assists in eight games this postseason. This is just the second career playoff run for Nash, who was acquired last summer in a trade with Columbus.
Richards, who signed a nine-year, $58.5 million contract prior to the 2011-12 season, has one goal so far. A former Conn Smythe winner for Tampa Bay in 2004, Richards recorded six goals and nine assists for the Rangers in last year's playoffs, which ended in the conference finals against New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Boston played Game 1 without defensemen Andrew Ference, Wade Redden and Dennis Seidenberg, all of whom are battling injuries. All three players are questionable for Sunday.
The Bruins were 16-5-3 as the host during the regular season and have a 3-2 record at TD Garden in these playoffs. New York is 1-4 on the road in this postseason after going 10-12-2 as the guest in the regular season.
Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday in New York.