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Rangers top Bruins in OT, 4-3

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
By Jeremy Lemoine

Boston, MA - New York Rangers forward Michael Nylander scored the game-winning goal just 40 seconds into overtime to edge the Boston Bruins, 4-3, in front of a sellout crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins had a two-goal lead until the Rangers stormed back to take a 3-2 lead into the final period. Brad Boyes scored his second goal of the night to force the overtime session. Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas finished the game with 21 saves.

"I thought our effort was sound today," said Sullivan. "It was an even hockey game. We had a game plan going in and we wanted to execute and bring that necessary energy and focus to give ourselves a chance to win. I thought we did that tonight. I can't fault the effort and intensity of our players."

The Rangers picked up their 100th point of the season and their third win in as many games. New York won the season series against the Bruins, 4-0, and extended their overtime record to 11-12 on the season. The Bruins dropped to 6-14 in overtime.

Jaromir Jagr, who finished the game with two goals and an assist, broke the Rangers' record for most goals in a season with his 53rd. The previous record of 52 goals was set by Adam Graves in 1994 when the Rangers won their first Stanley Cup since 1940. It is the most goals Jagr has scored in 10 years, adding to his league-leading totals of 53-65=118 this season.

Mark Stuart took over defenseman Hal Gill's duties as a shadow for Jagr. Throughout his career, Gill has had success in shutting down Jagr, but Coach Mike Sullivan felt Stuart would be just as effective.

"I thought Mark Stuart had a great game," said the coach. "(Jagr) is such a hard player to play against because of his mobility and awareness. We felt as though, with Stuart's awareness and mobility and skill level, he could be effective."

Brad Boyes registered his 25th and 26th goals of the season against the Rangers. Entering the season, Boyes had pretty lofty goals. His main focus was to get as much ice time as possible and learn and mature as a player. With 26-41=67 totals thus far this season, Boyes has done an admirable job in his rookie season.

"I have pretty high expectations of myself and I wanted to go in and help the team as much as possible," said Boyes, who is averaging 15:31 of ice time per game. "The focus was just to earn some ice time and adapt to the NHL level. I wanted to improve everyday. Right from the start that was the plan. I've learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Unfortunately, we missed the playoffs, but besides that, the guys in here have taught me a lot."

Boyes gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead just 4:43 into the first period with his 25th goal of the season. With a two-man advantage, Boyes redirected a Glen Murray slap shot from the point past Rangers netminder Kevin Weekes.

Mariusz Czerkawski extended the Bruins lead to two goals when he snapped home a Brad Isbister rebound midway through the first period. Isbister tried a wrap-around from behind the net, but Weekes made the initial save. Czerkawski quickly gathered the puck and scored his seventh of the year.

Jagr cut the lead in half at 13:35 of the first period. Nylander stripped the puck from Patrice Bergeron and made a behind the back pass to Jagr. He then beat Thomas five-hole with a wrister from the top of the left circle for No. 53 of the season.

Jagr returned the favor to Nylander for the Rangers second goal. Just 3:48 into the second period, Nylander intercepted a Jagr shot and deked Thomas for his 21st goal of the season to knot the score at 2-2.

Jarkko Immonen gave New York their first lead of the game when he tipped home a Tom Poti shot from the point. The goal came with only 59 seconds left in the second period and six seconds after Yan Stastny was sent to the penalty box for hooking.

Boyes scored his second goal of the game to knot the score at three a piece at 3:51 of the third period. Boyes scored on a wrist shot from the right face-off circle that beat Weekes under his left arm.

After Boyes' goal, the third period stayed even with both teams trading shots until the final buzzer.

In the extra session, Nylander scored his second of the game on a shot from the slot. The puck rang off the crossbar and into the net to win the game for the Rangers. Jagr and Poti picked up assists on the goal.

"I didn't see it until five feet from my ear before I could throw my body at it," said Thomas. "That top line is real good. Some teams, you can say what they do is luck, but that line isn't lucky because it happens all the time. They are just that good."

The Bruins will play their second to last home game of the season on Monday night against the Washington Capitals at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised on OLN.
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