BOSTON (AP) — Facing one of the NHL’s hottest goaltenders didn’t slow down the New York Rangers.
Derek Stepan and Kevin Hayes each scored short-handed goals, Antti Raanta made 35 saves and the surging Rangers beat the Boston Bruins and goalie Tuukka Rask 5-2 on Saturday night.
“We didn’t play our best game, but we found a way to make a couple of plays and beat one of the goaltenders that had been one of the hottest so far in the league,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
Pavel Buchnevich added a power-play goal, Stepan had two assists, and Michael Grabner and Nick Holden also scored for New York, which won its fourth straight game and seventh in the last eight.
“The speed in our game has been very good and I think that’s something that we were missing last year,” Raanta said. “It’s still early in the season, but I think everyone is pretty much on the same page with what they’re doing and what we want to do.”
David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins, who had won their last three games. Rask made 19 saves, but lost for the first time after winning his first six starts.
The Rangers entered the night with the league’s best goal differential.
“We’re scoring a lot of goals and it helps for the goalies, but you have to focus on your own thing,” Raanta said.
Trailing 1-0 in the first, the Rangers tied it when Holden fired a seemingly harmless dump-in shot from the right point, but the puck appeared to hit the glove of Boston center David Krejci and dipped before going into the net.
New York made it 2-1 on Stepan’s goal late in the period as he broke in alone after taking a pass from Grabner. Rask poked the puck off his stick, but it caromed off both of the winger’s skates and slid into the net.
Seconds after Boston defenseman Torey Krug misfired at an open side of the net, Hayes scored on the end of a 3-on-1 break at 2:18 of the second, slipping a shot under Rask’s right pad.
The Rangers also had a 2-on-0 short-handed bid seconds later, but Rask turned aside the chance.
“Overaggressive might be one term, and not realizing that you still have to defend when you don’t have the puck and you can’t be lackadaisical,” Boston coach Claude Julien said of his team’s power plays. “I don’t know if I want to call it sloppy, but certainly it definitely hurt our game tonight and our chances.”
Referee Dean Morton had to be helped off the ice in the second after taking the puck off the back of the head on clearing shot from Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein.
Klein shot the puck from the side of his team’s net into the corner, where it hit Morton. He went down to the ice before getting on his knees and being helped off by a Boston trainer. He was taken for evaluation and didn’t return.
The Bruins had moved ahead when Bergeron one-timed Brad Marchand’s pass 3:44 into the game.
NOTES: Rangers rookie and Harvard grad Jimmy Vesey, who played in the Beanpot at TD Garden, played his first here as a pro. “It was great,” he said. “I played here for four years and came to a couple of Bruins games growing up. It was pretty special for me to be out there as a professional.” . The Rangers entered the night as the only team with seven players having scored four or more goals. … Bruins RW Jimmy Hayes – brother of New York’s Kevin – was a healthy scratch.
Rangers: Host Winnipeg on Sunday, the first of a two-game homestand before a four-game road trip.
Bruins: Host Buffalo on Monday, the second of two straight at home.