BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins made it through 48 games in the regular season and seven more in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals without getting much from their power play. None of that will matter if their power play continues to win them games like it did Thursday at TD Garden.
The Bruins grabbed a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers because their power play got them a goal in regulation created a surge of momentum in overtime that led to Brad Marchand's winning goal.
Marchand scored off a 2-on-1 rush with Patrice Bergeron 15:40 into overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 victory in Game 1. Boston also got a power-play goal from rookie defenseman Torey Krug to tie the game 2:55 into the third period.
Game 2 is Sunday at TD Garden (3 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN, RDS).
"Obviously we didn't have the best power play all year," Marchand said, referring to Boston's 26th-ranked power play (14.8 percent) in the regular season, "but we're starting to come around. If we're not scoring, then we're getting some opportunities. You want to get some momentum off of those. In overtime especially, we had some really good opportunities but we didn't finish. We just seemed to feed off of that and played very well after that."
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 45 saves, including 15 in overtime and six on the Bruins' power play during the extra session, but his career record in overtime games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs fell to 3-11.
"I thought it was pretty even going into the overtime," Rangers coach John Tortorella said, "but we got spanked in the overtime."
They did mostly because the Bruins grabbed momentum with their early power play, a result of Derek Dorsett interfering with Rich Peverley along the boards 2:20 into overtime. Boston kept the puck in the offensive zone for nearly the full two minutes and peppered Lundqvist, whose best save may have been a right pad kick save on Zdeno Chara's slap shot from the point early in the man advantage. It was one of nine shots on goal for Chara, who played 38:02.
Lundqvist also got some help from the goal post on Jaromir Jagr's shot roughly a minute into the power play.
"I didn't think it was a negative thing," Bruins coach Claude Julien said about not scoring despite the plethora of chances during the power play. "If anything it was just about, 'Let's stay with it here and find a way to get that goal.'"
They stayed with it -- and they found a way to get the goal.
Johnny Boychuk hit the right post with a 50-foot slap shot at 6:34 and Lundqvist followed with back-to-back saves on Nathan Horton and Chara. He then made back-to-back saves on David Krejci and another on Krug with Chris Kelly in front of the net.
However, when Chara got a piece of Derick Brassard's pass off the rush, poking it into an open area near the left point area, the Bruins finally got the odd-numbered chance they wanted with a fast push the other way.
Marchand got to the free puck and quickly moved it up the right-wing wall to Bergeron before cutting into the middle. He outraced Mats Zuccarello and Bergeron found his stick blade in the slot with a centering feed around defenseman Anton Stralman. Marchand redirected the puck past Lundqvist as Zuccarello slid into the net.
"It felt great," Marchand said. "We had a really good game, and to be able to finish it off with a win is very big. We're happy that we're able to capitalize in these overtime games. They're very tough games to be in, but we're happy with the win."
Lundqvist beat himself up for making what he thought was a technical mistake on the winning goal.
"I gotta see the guy in the middle," he said. "I was too focused on the puck and I kind of knew he was coming in the middle, but I was too locked in on the puck. That's why I made a stretch move instead of coming with my pads together. It's a technical thing and it happened fast, but sooner or later when you face a lot of chances like that you're going to make a mistake."
The Rangers took a 2-1 lead 14 seconds into the third period when Derek Stepan scored off a feed from Carl Hagelin. Ryan McDonagh scored his first career playoff goal with 1.3 seconds left in the second period to tie the game at 1-1.
However, Steve Eminger went to the box for holding Peverley less than a minute after Stepan scored and the Bruins' power play, which was 3-for-20 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round, came through.
Krug, who was making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut, scored off a sharp shot from the left circle that squeezed underneath Lundqvist's left arm.
"It was amazing," Krug said. "I've said before that my main goal was to come in here and try to help the team win, and I was fortunate enough to do that."
Boston had another power play for 1:35 late in regulation and nearly converted on that, too. Lundqvist came up with three big saves and the Rangers blocked two shots, but the Bruins kept the puck in the zone once the power play was over and Boychuk hit the right post with a slap shot as regulation time expired.
"We had a lot of chances, I think we must have hit four, maybe five posts," Julien said. "So you start questioning yourselves, is it meant to be tonight? We had a lot of chances, a lot of close calls, but it's nice to see us continue to grind it out and find a way to win this."
On the flip side, New York's power play continued to struggle -- it went 0-for-3 and fell to 2-for-31 in the playoffs. The Rangers averaged one shot on goal per power play Thursday night and never could gain any type of momentum off of it.
"We need to get good chances and create momentum," defenseman Dan Girardi said. "We've got to get a goal on the power play. It's a difference maker. We don't get one and we lose the game. We definitely have to figure out something with that."
The Bruins did on Thursday. They earned a day off on Friday because of it.