NEW YORK -- Tuukka Rask was ready to play shortly after 7:00 p.m. Sunday. It's a good thing too, because his Boston Bruins teammates needed some extra time to get their game in order at Madison Square Garden.
Despite being sluggish and sloppy at the start of the game, the Bruins found their legs and got their heads together to rally behind Rask in a 6-3 victory against the New York Rangers for their first win since returning from the NHL break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Rask made 39 saves, including 19 in the first period, and Boston got goals from Jarome Iginla, Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg, Milan Lucic and Gregory Campbell, who scored twice in the third period, to complete its sweep of the season series against the Rangers (3-0-0) and increase its lead over the Montreal Canadiens in the Atlantic Division to six points. The Bruins also have two games in hand.
"I think we got mad enough after the first 10 minutes and reacted," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think that was huge. We just needed to get over that hump. Once we scored that first goal it seemed like everybody relaxed and we just got better from there."
It's not clear if this was New York captain Ryan Callahan's last game with the Rangers. Callahan is reportedly on the trading block and could be dealt before the NHL Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday.
New York doesn't play again until Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"Obviously, my heart is still here and I want to be here," Callahan said. "We'll see what happens."
Campbell's first goal was the backbreaker because it came during a New York power play midway through the third period of what was a one-goal game.
Loui Eriksson broke out of the zone and carried the puck down the right side. He patiently waited for Campbell, who had just come onto the ice for Chris Kelly, to streak down the middle as the trailer. Richards lost sight of Campbell, who got the pass from Eriksson in between the hash marks, deked to his backhand and beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist to give Boston the 4-2 lead with 10:56 to play in the third period.
"I think it was a great play by Loui," Julien said. "Loui bought some time there, got the puck in deep and waited, and I think somehow they never saw him slide in there. He was at the right place at the right time."
Campbell's second goal came 4:22 later when Daniel Paille's shot from the left side hit off his skate and went into the net to give Boston a 5-2 lead. The goal was upheld after a video review to determine if Campbell made a distinct kicking motion.
McDonagh scored his ninth of the season less than two minutes after Campbell's second goal. It came on New York's 40th shot of the game. Boston scored its six goals on 33 shots.
Lundqvist gave up 10 goals on 64 shots in back-to-back losses this weekend to the Flyers and Bruins.
"Painful, extremely painful," Lundqvist said.
Lundqvist was further crushed by how the Bruins scored their goals.
Iginla scored on a redirection in the slot with 1:53 to play in the first period after Lucic forced the puck free with a hard forecheck. Hamilton scored 4:04 into the second period from between the hash marks after Lucic's pass attempt to David Krejci hit off of Dan Girardi's stick and went right to the Bruins' 20-year-old defenseman.
Soderberg made it 3-1 five-and-a-half minutes after Hamilton's goal with a pretty move from the slot after Eriksson tapped the puck over to him. Lucic made it 6-3 with a deft deflection of Matt Bartkowski's shot from the left side.
"When you give up six goals, it's not good enough, but thinking of the goals right now, quickly, it's some tough plays," Lundqvist said. "I tried to be in good position, but against Boston it's about winning the battles in front of both nets. That's where these games get decided, and they are really good around the net making quick plays and getting to loose pucks. It's disappointing."
The Rangers seemed to have it all going at the start of the game, and they jumped on Boston early with Miller's breakaway goal and kept coming at Rask with odd-man rush after odd-man rush.
"We were stuck in quicksand there," Rask said.
Rask wasn't. He was on his toes, on top of his game. New York couldn't put the game away early despite holding a 14-1 edge in shots on goal 10 minutes in.
"I thought Rask played one of the best first periods I've seen a goaltender play against us," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
It took a hard forecheck from Lucic to give the Bruins' the emotional lift they needed to snap out of their funk, which had been going on since Wednesday, when they lost to the last-place Buffalo Sabres in their first game back from the Olympics.
Krejci dumped the puck into the corner, and Lucic chased after it, taking out Miller and Girardi as he barreled hard toward the end boards. The puck sprung free and Krejci, who followed his dump-in, picked it up in the lower part of the left circle. He then slotted a pass to Iginla, who got his stick down to redirect the puck into the net.
"You definitely start asking yourself, 'Did the [Olympic] break affect us this much to the point where we're playing this bad?' " Lucic said. "But sometimes it can just take one play like that to turn things around. … Once we were able to figure that out and get that emotional lift we were able to start playing our game again and start playing with confidence."
Richards' 16th goal of the season made it 3-2 with 3:07 left before the second intermission. At that point the Rangers were feeling better going into the second intermission and came out playing better in the third to the point where their pressure resulted in Hamilton shooting the puck over the glass for a minor penalty with 11:58 to play.
However, instead of taking advantage of the power play, Eriksson made a patient play, Richards lost Campbell, and the Bruins scored a shorthanded goal that turned into the game-winner.
"I like the character that we showed," Campbell said.
|J.T. Miller (3) ASST: Derek Stepan (28)|
1 - 0 NYR
|Jarome Iginla (18) ASST: David Krejci (38), Dougie Hamilton (10)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Dougie Hamilton (7) ASST: Milan Lucic (26), Jarome Iginla (28)|
2 - 1 BOS
|Carl Soderberg (10) ASST: Loui Eriksson (15), Dougie Hamilton (11)|
3 - 1 BOS
|Brad Richards (16) ASST: Ryan Callahan (14), Anton Stralman (7)|
3 - 2 BOS
|SHG - Gregory Campbell (5) ASST: Loui Eriksson (16), Johnny Boychuk (15)|
4 - 2 BOS
|Gregory Campbell (6) ASST: Daniel Paille (7)|
5 - 2 BOS
|PPG - Ryan McDonagh (9) ASST: Chris Kreider (18), Derek Stepan (29)|
5 - 3 BOS
|Milan Lucic (19) ASST: Matt Bartkowski (12), David Krejci (39)|
6 - 3 BOS
|Johnny Boychuk Interference against Dominic Moore|
|Chris Kelly Interference against J.T. Miller|
|Brad Marchand Hi-sticking against Ryan McDonagh|
|Ryan McDonagh Hi-sticking against Brad Marchand|
|Dougie Hamilton Delaying Game-Puck over glass against Brad Richards|
|Kevan Miller Holding against Dominic Moore|
|Daniel Carcillo Roughing against Torey Krug|
|Torey Krug Roughing against Daniel Carcillo|