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BRUINS 4, RANGERS 1

Corazzini a spark plug in Bruin win

NEW YORK -- When Carl Corazzini got the puck from Ted Donato during a two-on-none breakaway in the second period against the Rangers last night, the Bruins' rookie was thinking one thing: "Shoot."

He did, and he beat goalie Mike Dunham for the Bruins' first goal -- Corazzini's first in the NHL -- and he followed that with another in the third period as the Bruins beat the Rangers, 4-1, sweeping the home-and-home series by a 9-3 count.

Boston has now won seven of eight, and in this one, the Bruins did it without captain Joe Thornton, who was home with a fractured cheekbone suffered in Monday's bout with Rangers center Eric Lindros. The rematch featured intensity and fisticuffs, too, but the Bruins said all they cared about were the 2 points.

With Thornton out, others answered the bell. Corazzini, on a line with Brian Rolston and P.J. Axelsson, wasn't the only one. Defenseman Jiri Slegr, playing his second game in the black and gold since a trade from Vancouver Saturday, potted his second goal in as many contests and had an assist. Rolston had the other Boston goal and added two assists.

But it was Corazzini who stole the show.

After a scoreless first period, the Framingham, Mass., native put the Bruins ahead to stay when he and Donato combined for the shorthander at 1:34 of the second.

"He saw Lawrence Nycholat fall down [at the blue line], and I kind of just busted up the middle," said Corazzini, who was called up from Providence Jan. 14. "I really didn't think Teddy was going to give it to me but I think he saw we had a chance for a two-on-oh and I wasn't giving it up and I went in there and I was lucky enough to beat Mike Dunham. It was a great heads-up play by Teddy."

Keeping the puck, Corazzini said, had to do with fear, not selfishness.

"I was thinking that if I tried to make a pass on a two-on-oh and we didn't score that I was going to get some heat coming back on the bench," he said. "I didn't want to make the wrong play. Dunham was froze a little bit thinking I was going to pass back to Teddy so Teddy was a little bit of a decoy there."

He said it was the most excited he's ever been in his 24 years.

"It's the most unbelievable feeling," he said. "I thought playing in my first NHL game in Buffalo would be the most exciting but there won't be any feeling the rest of my life that tops this, maybe the birth of my kids, but this was definitely pretty special. To be able to score two goals in MSG, one of the best rinks in the NHL, there's nothing like it."

Slegr made it a 2-0 lead at 17:34. Rob Zamuner, who was recalled from the minors after Monday's game, relayed the puck to Rolston in the left circle. Rolston tried to slide a shot under Dunham, and as the puck went into the crease, Slegr, who was being hauled down by Dan LaCouture, swept a backhander into the net.

The Rangers pulled within 2-1 early in the third period, scoring on a four-on-three power play. Alexei Kovalev, with the puck at the right point, relayed it over to defenseman Brian Leetch, who teed up a slapper that blew by goaltender Andrew Raycroft to the stick side at 1:21.

The Bruins put away the Rangers with two more. Axelsson was tripped by right wing Jed Ortmeyer, giving Boston a two-man advantage for 33 seconds with Leetch already in the box, and Boston cashed in. Rolston took a pass from rookie center Patrice Bergeron and beat Dunham with a slap shot from the top of the right circle at 4:33.

Corazzini struck again at 9:33. Rolston gave the puck to Axelsson, who took a shot from the high slot that Dunham stopped. However, Corazzini, who was driving the net, got the rebound and fired it in from the inside edge of the left circle, beating the netminder to the far side.

The frustration for New York boiled over late with LaCouture taking a double minor for hitting Rolston high and grappling with defenseman Nick Boynton.

Rolston said the rematch was about what they expected.

"Basically what you want to do is stay disciplined," he said. "The 2 points is a lot more important than vendettas. We have plenty of guys to stand up to them. LaCouture got a little cheap shot on me at the end of the game but I'll take that for the 2 points."

And the bonus is that Thornton probably will be back tomorrow night, sporting a shield. For one night anyway, his absence didn't cost his team.

"Any time you lose your best player, it's tough," said coach Mike Sullivan. "Obviously, Joe is a huge part of this team and everybody knows that. I thought from top to bottom everybody stepped up their game and helped make up for that loss."

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