The Boston Bruins won a 3-2 overtime thriller in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Rangers on Thursday at TD Garden.
And Brad Marchand was the hero.
As expected, it was a physical game from the start. Both teams combined for 34 hits in the first period alone. The Bruins held a slight edge in faceoffs, 10-8.
The Bruins also held a slight edge in shots on goal in the first period (11-8), but the Rangers were able to block 10 shots, as they've been known to do.
Also, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was once against stellar in the first period, saving all 11 shots. It brought his scoreless streak in the playoffs to 140 minutes.
The Bruins had a shot to score at the 18:05 mark when Dougie Hamilton's shot was stopped by Lundqvist and eased behind the goaltender, but Lundqvist eventually found the puck before the Bruins could swing it home.
The Rangers' Michael Del Zotto was hit on the side of the head off of a deflection with 42 seconds remaining in the first period and had to head to the locker room.
The first period was more of a "feeling-out" period for both teams, headlined by defense. But it wasn't received very well by those who wanted a more action-packed game.
Adam Proteau of The Hockey News tweeted after the period:
I've seen emergency plane exit demonstrations by flight attendants that were more entertaining than that Bruins/Rangers first period.— Adam Proteau (@Proteautype) May 17, 2013
In the second period, the Bruins' dangerous offense had a few chances to score after Taylor Pyatt was given two minutes in the penalty box for boarding at the 2:22 mark, but Boston ultimately wasn't able to score.
Ty Anderson of HockeyBuzz.com tweeted at the time:
Bruins now 3-for-21 on the power-play in the playoffs.— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) May 17, 2013
The Rangers quickly got a power play of their own at the 4:38 mark when Zdeno Chara was given two minutes for hooking Rick Nash. But, like the Bruins, they weren't able to capitalize on the advantage.
Adam Jones of The Adam Jones Show in Boston tweeted:
That Rangers power play made the Bruins' PP look intimidating.— Adam Jones (@adamjones985) May 17, 2013
At the 12:23 mark, the Bruins finally broke through off of a knuckleball shot by Chara that wiggled behind Lundqvist. It ended Lundqvist's scoreless streak and put Boston ahead, 1-0.
The Score.com tweeted:
Zdeno Chára makes it 1-0 Boston on a goal Henrik Lundqvist would most certainly like to have back.— theScore (@theScore) May 17, 2013
But with the Rangers staring at a one-goal disadvantage as the clock wound down in the second period, they found life. Off a rebound created by Nash, Ryan McDonagh nailed a shot from 64 feet out that went through three Bruins en route to the net. It was tied 1-1 headed in the third and final period.
Dan Rosen of NHL.com tweeted:
McDonagh blast from the left point goes in with 1.3 seconds left and the Rangers tie it 1-1. Nash power move to the net helped set it up.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) May 17, 2013
That late goal in the second period proved to be a bad omen for Boston. A mere 14 seconds into the third period, the Rangers scored again. Derek Stepan put in a 32-foot snapshot off assists from Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan.
All of a sudden, the Rangers had scored twice in about 15 seconds.
But the Bruins responded in dramatic fashion after the Rangers' Steve Eminger was given two minutes for holding Rich Peverley. Defenseman Torey Krug found the net on the power play (yes, power play) at the 2:55 mark off assists from Dougie Hamilton and Brad Marchand.
Both teams battled back and forth before Patrice Bergeron was given two minutes for hooking Ryan Callahan at the 16:16 mark. But with 25 seconds remaining on the power play, the Rangers' John Moore was whistled for interference, setting up a four-on-four.
After no goals were scored in those 25 minutes, the Bruins had a shot on the ensuing power play, but a shot by Tyler Seguin with 22 seconds left was blocked by none other than Dan Girardi, who led the NHL with 125 blocks during the regular season.
The third period ended with the teams tied 2-2. After a quiet first period, Game 1 between the Rangers and Bruins had turned into a thriller.
Boston got a power play early in overtime. At the 2:20 mark, Derek Dorsett was whistled for interference. The Bruins threatened numerous times, but the Rangers ultimately escaped unscathed.
The Bruins constantly threatened throughout the game before Marchand finally ended it off an assist from Bergeron, flipping a tip-in past Lundqvist.
Boston racked up 48 shots in the 3-2 overtime victory.