The Bruins are greedy. When there are no points seemingly available, they want one. When they scratch out one point, they’re hungry for two.
One point was all they would get Tuesday night at the Garden.
It looked like a zero-point night for more than 40 minutes. Anton Stralman gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead at 2:07 of the third period. But the Bruins stormed back for three third-period strikes, including two with Tuukka Rask pulled for an extra skater, to swipe the point that wasn’t there.
In the shootout, Ryan Callahan and Rick Nash beat Rask to give the Rangers a 4-3 win. Brad Marchand was the only shooter to beat Henrik Lundqvist in the shootout. Lundqvist turned back Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci.
“It’s nice to get the point,” Andrew Ference said. “I think everybody is proud to get the point. I think the majority of guys, if you went around, are more ticked off that we spotted them the three.
“During a season, those games happen when you have to fight back and you have those breakdowns. I guess we’ll focus on the positives, which is a good job at the end of jumping on loose pucks and really putting on the pressure. A couple guys came through by burying it. Funny game. It was a weird game.”
It was the nature of the comeback — specifically, how the Bruins scored their third-period goals — that had them feeling good about the result. They were results of desperation.
The Bruins won races to loose pucks. They dominated battles along the boards. They jammed up the Rangers in front of the net. All that hard-hat work led to three straight goals.
One second after a Nash hooking penalty expired, Krejci punched in a short-distance goal at 8:44 of the third.
At 18:29 of the third, with Rask off in place of Rich Peverley, the Bruins made it a one-goal game. Nathan Horton tapped in a goalmouth strike.
Then at 19:17, Marchand capped the rally by tucking a puck under the crossbar.
Naturally, there was plenty of good work that took place before each of the three goals.
Before Krejci’s goal, Seidenberg worked the point on the No. 1 power-play unit. For the first two periods, Dougie Hamilton had been the point man. In the third, coach Claude Julien replaced Hamilton with Seidenberg. The veteran defenseman had been playing a good game, Julien explained. Seidenberg had been quick to shoot from the point. On Krejci’s goal, Seidenberg pounded a shot on goal. Lundqvist stopped the shot, but Krejci was there for the rebound.
Before Horton’s goal, Krejci, Lucic, and Peverley won successive puck battles on the boards. Those wins gave Ference a clear shot from the left point. Horton was there for the rebound.
Then before Marchand’s goal, Gregory Campbell, who went on for Rask, went straight for the front of the net. Ryan McDonagh blocked Bergeron’s initial shot, and the puck skittered out to Marchand. Because he was busy working through Campbell’s screen, Lundqvist couldn’t push to his left in time to turn back Marchand.
“It was good to see guys battle all the way through until the end and pick up that point,” Lucic said. “That’s the thing we have in this room. We have a lot of character. We have a lot of guys who aren’t going to quit, no matter what the situation is.
“We proved that tonight.”
All that third-period lunchpail work was required to scrub away previous blemishes — mistakes the Bruins usually don’t commit.
In the first period, repeated failed clearing attempts led to an extended shift for the third pairing and the fourth line. Campbell finally shoveled the puck out of the defensive zone. The forwards had time to change. But Dan Girardi retrieved the puck and triggered the counterattack so quickly that Ference and Adam McQuaid couldn’t get off the ice.
Because of their slack gap, the defensemen couldn’t recover in time to prevent Carl Hagelin from tapping in a Nash feed at 10:37 of the first.
In the second, Lucic tried a cross-ice pass to Hamilton in the neutral zone. The pass was behind Hamilton, who couldn’t retrieve the puck cleanly. The Rangers went the other way for an odd-man rush against Zdeno Chara. Rask had the angle on Derek Stepan. But Stepan managed to slip an off-wing shot over Rask’s glove at 8:17.
If Stepan’s shot was the kind Rask usually stops, a third-period Anton Stralman attempt was the type the goalie almost never misses.
Stralman snapped a bad-angle shot on goal. Somehow, the puck dribbled through Rask and rolled over the line at 2:07, giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead. Rask smashed his stick into the ice after allowing the softie.
But Rask’s teammates wiped out those two bad goals with their third-period comeback.
“We dug ourselves a hole of our own doing,” Julien said. “At the same time, you’ve got to appreciate the fact that we came back and tied the game with our goalie pulled on two occasions. That’s a positive.”