Boston, MA – Johnny Boychuk, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic scored in succession to break open a tie game and stake the Boston Bruins to a commanding lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the New York Rangers following Sunday's 5-2 Game 2 victory at TD Garden.
Boston took a 1-0 series lead with a hard-earned 3-2 overtime triumph on Thursday, but left little doubt about the outcome of this one after reeling off three unanswered goals to support a stout effort between the pipes from Tuukka Rask.
Marchand added an assist in the triumph, with Torey Krug delivering a goal and an assist for Boston and Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci each contributing a pair of helpers.
Rask turned aside 35 shots to outshine counterpart Henrik Lundqvist, with the reigning Vezina Trophy recipient stopping just 27-of-32 chances as the Rangers fell to 1-5 on the road in these playoffs.
"We gave it to them," a dejected Lundqvist said afterward.
New York, which also fell into an 0-2 hole before rallying to top Washington in seven games in the opening round, will attempt to bounce back when the series shifts to Madison Square Garden for Tuesday's Game 3.
The Rangers did get a goal from Rick Nash, the talented sniper's first of this year's postseason, with Ryan Callahan also lighting the lamp in the loss.
New York twice overcame one-goal deficits to tie the score, but fell behind once again following a Bruins' faceoff win with around eight minutes left in the second period. Boychuk fired a wrister that got past Lundqvist with Bergeron providing an effective screen in front to give Boston a 3-2 edge.
"All I had to do was hit the net because there was a couple of guys in front of [Lundqvist]," said Boychuk of the shot.
The lead held up this time, with Rask coming up with several big saves -- including a pair of close-range denials of Ryan McDonagh and Carl Hagelin prior to the second intermission -- and Marchand coming up with a deflating goal in the opening minute of the third period.
Just 26 seconds into the final frame, the gritty winger tipped in a centering pass from Bergeron to extend the margin to 4-2.
"I was kind of hanging there backdoor and Bergy made an unbelievable pass again," said Marchand.
New York, which went 0-for-5 on the power play for the game and is an anemic 2-for-36 with a man advantage in these playoffs, failed to capitalize on a hooking call to Boychuk later on, then had any comeback hopes all but dashed when Lucic poked in a rebound after Lundqvist stopped Krejci's initial attempt to extend the margin to three goals with 7:21 left to play.
"We made coverage mistakes," Rangers head coach John Tortorella said. "We can't put it in the net. We had multiple chances."
Boston started off strong and gained the early upper hand courtesy of Krug, one of three rookie defensemen pressed into duty due to injuries to veterans Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden.
The 22-year-old jumped into the New York zone from the left side to collect a pass from Nathan Horton before ripping a shot through Lundqvist's pads to put the Bruins ahead 5:28 after the initial faceoff. It was Krug's second goal of this series.
New York responded less than three minutes later, however, when Callahan forced a turnover from Marchand and outskated Boston blueliner Dougie Hamilton to create a breakaway. The Rangers' captain than faked left and jammed the puck into an opening to knot the contest at 1-1.
Gregory Campbell put the Bruins back on top after backhanding a rebound of Krug's blast from the left point with 2:24 elapsed in the second period, though the lead didn't last long.
Just 56 seconds afterward, Nash outraced Boston's Zdeno Chara on a rush up the right wing and beat Rask to the stick-side to end his lengthy drought and pull the Rangers even.
New York nearly went in front for the first time later in the middle session. Derek Stepan got a behind-the-net feed from Callahan in between Rask's legs at the 7:37 mark, but the shot bounced off the post and the Bruins' netminder covered the puck up.
The Rangers have now failed to score in 19 consecutive opportunities on the power play over a span of five games ... Krejci now has 11 assists and a league-best 16 points in Boston's nine games during this year's playoffs ... Rangers center Derick Brassard had a six-game point streak halted ... Boston has gone 21-7 in its previous best-of-seven series in which it jumped out to a 2-0 lead.