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NEW YORK – Cam Talbot made 18 saves in place of the injured Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash had a goal and an assist, and Derek Stepan snapped a second-period tie to lift the New York Rangers to their third straight win, 3-2 over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.
Talbot, whose previous start was a 3-0 loss at Boston on Jan. 15, got the nod after Lundqvist was forced to sit out by a neck injury caused when he was struck in the throat by a shot against Carolina on Saturday. Lundqvist is day to day.
Nash gave the Rangers a 1-0 edge in the first period with his NHL-leading 32nd goal, and Derick Brassard and Stepan scored in the second.
Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron had goals in the first period for Boston, which was 8-1-1 in its previous 10. Tuukka Rask stopped 22 shots.
The Rangers regained the lead in the second period on goals by Brassard and Stepan.
Mats Zuccarello dug the puck out behind the Boston net and sent it to Chris Kreider in the right circle. With his back to the net, Kreider sent the puck into the slot to Brassard for a shot past Rask at 6:41. It was Brassard's 13th goal and second in seven games.
New York made it 3-2 when, after taking a stretch pass from defenseman Dan Girardi, Nash moved the puck to Stepan, who got behind defenseman Dougie Hamilton and beat Rask with 3:04 left for his ninth goal.
Talbot had a much better second period, stopping all seven shots.
Things had started well for Talbot and the Rangers, who took a 1-0 lead before the Bruins recorded a shot.
Nash scored in the first period for the third straight game when he raced down left wing, cut in front of Rask, shifted the puck from forehand to backhand, and put it in at 5:50.
Talbot made his first save with 12:15 remaining when he stopped defenseman Adam McQuaid, drawing a big cheer from the crowd, and then made another solid stop just over 2 minutes later against Loui Eriksson.
But despite notching only five shots in the first period, the Bruins took a 2-1 lead into the intermission with a pair of quick strikes.
Lucic got it started just hours after he arrived in New York by scoring his 11th goal. The puck popped free from a scrum in the lower right corner of the Rangers end and came to Lucic in the slot for a hard drive that nestled into the top left corner at 13:37.
It was the second goal in three games for Lucic, who missed practice on Tuesday because of the flu.
The Bruins needed only 1:52 more to grab a 2-1 edge on Bergeron's 13th of the season. Eriksson carried the puck down the left side into the Rangers end and fed a crisp pass into the slot that Bergeron deftly deflected past Talbot.
NOTES: Nash is the first Rangers player to score in at least 25 of the team's first 49 games since Adam Graves did it in the 1993-94 season. ... Five of Stepan's goals have come in two games this season. ... MacKenzie Skapski was recalled from Hartford (AHL) to serve as Talbot's backup. He was born on June 15, 1994, the day after the Rangers last won the Stanley Cup. ... Bergeron also scored for the second time in three games.