NEW YORK — For most of Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, it was looking like Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was finally going to have his big game in net. The man who would be King was 5-0 in his last five Game 3 appearances and was shutting down the Bruins at every turn.
But it was the Big Bad Bruins who roared back with a pair of third-period goals created by the fourth line of Greg Campbell, Shawn Thornton, and Daniel Paille that gave Boston a 2-1 victory in Game 3 of their playoff series against the Rangers Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Paille’s goal with 3:31 left in a third period dominated by Boston gave the Bruins the victory and put the Rangers in the unenviable position of having to come back from an 0-3 deficit to keep their season alive.
“It was one of those nights when [Lundqvist] was on his game and you can see the confidence he had throughout the whole game,” Paille said. “The goals that went in, there’s really nothing much you can do. It was a screen on one and a redirect on another so we tried to do as much as we could, but it wasn’t going to be one of those where you’re going to beat him clean like the last few games. He was on tonight.”
The winning goal was the result of a shot that bounced off Lundqvist and went up into the air. The puck landed on the goal line before Paille came from behind the net to knock it home.
“We did a good job of managing the puck when we had it,” Thornton said. “Trying to wait for opportunities to open up, not just throwing pucks away, both my linemates were doing a great job of skating, getting into the forecheck, when they’re going, it makes life easy for all of us.”
The Black and Gold looked sharp from the start, yet it was the Rangers who took a 1-0 lead into the third period after a Taylor Pyatt goal on a deflection that came 3:53 into the second period. The Bruins turned up the pressure in the third period and outshot the Rangers 34-24 for the game.
Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk fired a goal through a screen of players that tied the score just 3:10 into the third period.
“We just wanted to keep it deep and keep getting pucks and bodies to the net,” Boychuk said. “There’s good things that happened.”
The game was nip and tuck all night, with the referees keeping the whistle in the pockets for the most part.
“It was a close game, very close,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “It was pretty even throughout the whole game. We had some chances in the first 20 minutes, but obviously their goalie played really strong. They put a lot of pressure on us and they scored a goal, making it a one goal game going into the third. We had to be more aggressive, and we were.”
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask wasn’t challenged nearly as much as Lundqvist, but he stayed focused when the pressure came his way and he came away with the W.
“You’ve got to be pretty happy with the situation obviously, but can’t get ahead of yourself,” Rask said on the Bruins 3-0 series lead. “We felt like we played a great game today so we just gotta keep going that way and I think good things will keep happening to us.”
Good things usually happen to team up 3-0, but Boston fans remember the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, who came back from three games down to overtake the Bruins. The only other teams to pull of the feat were the 1975 New York Islanders and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Bruins have a chance to close this one out Thursday night at MSG and possibly catch a much-needed breather before taking on the winner of the Penguins-Senators series.