New York, NY – Chris Kreider's goal at the 7:03 mark of overtime kept the New York Rangers alive thanks to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of this Eastern Conference semifinal from Madison Square Garden.
Rick Nash skated into the Bruins' zone on the right wing, and pulled up at the bottom of the circle before dishing ahead to a streaking Kreider for a redirection under the crossbar to end the contest.
"I think the mentality prior to the game and during the game was just, there's nothing to lose," said Kreider, a two-time national champion with Boston College. "I was lucky enough to play with Rick tonight. I just tried to move pucks and go hard to the net. He was able to find my tape, and I just tried to put it on net."
Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Brian Boyle also tallied for the Rangers, who staved off elimination and avoided being swept for the first time since 2006.
Henrik Lundqvist came up with 37 saves to help New York force a Game 5 on Saturday evening in Boston.
"We did show some character. It was tough though, probably the ugliest goal I have ever seen turned it around for us, and that's hockey," the Swedish backstop said. "A save or a goal or one shift can change everything. We kind of lowered our shoulders a little bit and started playing our game."
Nathan Horton, Torey Krug and Tyler Seguin found the back of the net for the Bruins, who failed in their first attempt at reaching the conference finals for the second time in the last three seasons.
Tuukka Rask made 28 saves in defeat, one which was not disheartening for the visitors.
"We give them two gift goals, eventually it's going to hurt. We competed hard but didn't execute as well as we know we can," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "There's no panic here..had we been outworked and not been there at all, I would be talking differently here."
Horton snapped a scoreless deadlock on a power play at 4:39 of the second period, following up a blocked David Krejci pass and sliding the puck between the pads of Lundqvist from the left circle.
Krug's point blast on a subsequent Boston advantage rippled the back of the net for a 2-0 Bruins edge with 7:41 played, but the Rangers finally responded 58 seconds later on Hagelin's muted shot which rolled past an over-committed Rask.
"Just a tough mistake. Looks pretty bad on TV I bet," said the Finnish goaltender, who also whiffed at the puck while trying to corral it with his stick. "I just tried to whack it away and it was just awful. You have a second to decide whether you scramble or put the paddle down."
Stepan evened the game at the 75-second mark of the final period, when he stripped Zdeno Chara behind the Bruins net and beat Rask on a wraparound from the left side.
But Seguin's persistence paid off, as his second-chance shot from a sharp angle on the left wing just after a power-play chance ended beat Lundqvist and gave the B's a 3-2 advantage with 8:06 played.
Boyle knotted the score at the midway point, connecting on a wrister from the slot during the second half of a delay-of-game penalty to Boston.
The Rangers couldn't find the go-ahead score on their following manpower advantage, when Boston's Chris Kelly was sent off for tripping with eight minutes left in regulation.
Rask made two quick sprawling saves within the first minute of OT.
Kreider's OT marker was the first for the Rangers against the Bruins in the postseason since Mar. 30, 1939, snapping Boston's streak of three overtime wins against the Blueshirts since then ... Derick Brassard finished with two assists for the victors ... Lundqvist improved to 5-0 in the Rangers' last five home playoff games in which his club faced elimination ... New York improved to 5-6 all-time in Game 4s when trailing a best-of-seven series three games to none ... Boston holds a 17-1 all-time mark when leading a series 3-0, having recorded a sweep on 13 occasions ... The Rangers have lost all 10 series when facing 0-3 deficits, but pushed the Bruins to a seventh game before losing in 1939 ... Rangers center Brad Richards was listed as a healthy scratch, while defenseman Roman Hamrlik skated in his first playoff game of 2013.