The Boston Bruins' reward for perhaps the greatest comeback in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is their first postseason series against the New York Rangers in 40 years.
Both teams advanced by winning Game 7 on Monday night, but their paths to victory couldn't have been more dissimilar. The Bruins became the first team to win a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period when the rallied to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime at TD Garden. Patrice Bergeron tied the game with 50.1 seconds remaining in regulation, then scored the series-winner 6:05 into OT.
There were no such worries for the Rangers, who won a Game 7 on the road for the first time in franchise history by blowing out the Washington Capitals 5-0 at Verizon Center. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 35 shots for his second shutout in as many days.
The Original Six clubs had one of the NHL's great rivalries in the early 1970s, when they met in the postseason three times in a four-year span. Boston won a bitter six-game quarterfinal series in 1970 on the way to the Stanley Cup and beat the Rangers in six games two years later to win the Cup again. The Rangers got a measure of revenge the following year when they routed the Bruins in five games in the Quarterfinals.
Boston has won six of the nine series between the teams; New York's only other victories came in 1928 (a total-goals series) and 1940. The Rangers won the Stanley Cup both times.
The Bruins lead the all-time regular-season series 285-240-97-9. The Rangers won two of three meetings with Boston during the regular season, though both teams earned four points.
Boston won 3-1 at TD Garden on opening night, Jan. 19, on goals by Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille and Johnny Boychuk. The Rangers blew 2-0 and 3-2 leads at home four nights later, but since-traded Marian Gaborik completed a hat trick by scoring in overtime to give the Rangers a 4-3 victory.
The Rangers grabbed a 3-0 lead at TD Garden on Feb. 12, only to see the Bruins score three times in the third period -- including sixth-attacker goals by Brad Marchand and Lucic -- to send the game into overtime. Rick Nash and Marchand exchanged goals in the shootout before New York captain Ryan Callahan got the winner in the fourth round for a 4-3 victory.
Lundqvist played all three games against the Bruins; Tuukka Rask did the same for Boston against the Rangers. Boston outshot the Rangers by a combined total of 103-83 in the three games.
Both teams struggled on the power play and excelled on the penalty kill. The Rangers were 0-for-14, while Boston scored once in 16 tries.