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Nash, Talbot help Rangers defeat Bruins

by Brian Compton

NEW YORK -- Another game, another MVP-type performance from Rick Nash.

The New York Rangers forward scored his NHL-leading 32nd goal of the season and set up the game-winner by Derek Stepan late in the second period of a 3-2 victory against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

Derick Brassard scored, and Cam Talbot made 18 saves for the Rangers (30-15-4), who have won three in a row.

The story of the Rangers' season continues to revolve around Nash, who has been one of the more dominant players in the League after scoring three goals in 25 Stanley Cup Playoff games last spring.

"It's really cool to be a part of," Stepan said. "It's fun to watch, it's fun to learn from him. He comes to the rink every day with the same mindset. He's been our best player."

Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins (27-17-7), who entered with back-to-back wins and were 8-1-1 in their previous 10 games. Tuukka Rask made 22 saves.

It was an easy night for Talbot, who played in place of injured Henrik Lundqvist (neck) in his first start since Jan. 15, when he made 29 saves in a 3-0 loss at Boston. The Rangers gave up at least 30 shots on goal in 10 of their previous 11 games.

"They played well. We didn't play well enough," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I don't think we competed hard enough to get to the net and get pucks to the net, so we gave them an easy night as far as that."

Nash scored 5:50 into the game. Martin St. Louis sent a cross-ice pass from along the right boards that gave Nash a breakaway; he deked before putting a backhand past Rask.

"He's been pretty much that way since the beginning of the year," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said of Nash. "A real complete player that's feeling good about his game right now. It's obviously rubbing off on our team."

Lucic, who missed the past two days of practice because of the flu, tied it at 13:37 of the first when he took a pass from Reilly Smith and beat Talbot with a wrist shot. It was Lucic's 11th goal of the season.

"[Lucic] was certainly one of those guys [competing hard], but we need a little bit more of that from a lot more players on our team," Julien said.

Bergeron gave Boston a 2-1 lead 1:52 later with his 13th goal of the season. Loui Eriksson cruised down the left wing and sent a pass between the circles, where Bergeron split two defenders and redirected the feed past Talbot.

Boston was outshot 12-5 in the first period.

"We weren't executing the way that we know we can and we paid for it," Bergeron said.

Brassard tied it 2-2 at 6:41 of the second period when he took a pass from Chris Kreider and sent a wrist shot from between the circles that got past Rask. It was Brassard's 13th goal of the season, first in his past six games.

New York took a 3-2 lead when Stepan scored his ninth of the season at 16:56 of the second. Nash chipped a pass along the left boards past Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton up to Stepan, who managed to beat Rask with a soft wrist shot from the circle.

"My glove went funny there," Rask said. "I thought I made the save and I looked at my glove and it was bent in a way that it shouldn't. It's just one of those things. Bad kind of luck, I guess. Then again, the mistakes happen right before that. I'd like to have that, but so be it."

The Rangers announced earlier Wednesday that Lundqvist would not be able to play. He took a puck in the throat in a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, and then made 33 saves in a 6-3 win against the Florida Panthers on Monday.

Lundqvist is considered day-to-day, but Vigneault said it's possible his No. 1 goaltender won't be with the Rangers when they visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

New York recalled Mackenzie Skapski from Hartford of the American Hockey League to be Talbot's backup.


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