June 23, 2018
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Marchand goal in OT lifts Bruins by Rangers in series opener

By Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange

BOSTON — Brad Marchand’s hockey Thursday began with him leaving the morning skate in pain after pulling up at the end of a drill.

His hockey Thursday ended with him finishing off a Patrice Bergeron pass for a goal 15:40 into overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in the first playoff game between the two old rivals in 40 years.

It was the first goal of the playoffs for Marchand, the Bruins’ goal leader in the regular season.

And when it was over, the feisty left wing said a text received from former teammate Mark Recchi helped him before in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

“He just texted me and told me to play my game and not to worry about anything else. The goals and stuff will come,” said Marchand. “It’s nice to hear from him. He’s obviously a guy that I went through a lot when I played with him, and it was good to hear from him again.”

A terrible pass on the rush by New York’s Derick Brassard sent Bergeron away on a rush. Bergeron, the late-regulation and overtime hero in Monday’s comeback win over Toronto, hit Marchand cutting for the net for a short tap-in past Henrik Lundqvist.

“It’s kind of a blur,” said Marchand, who also posted an assist, his fourth of the playoffs. “From the second it goes in to see everybody jump on the ice and surround you, it’s a bit of a blur. Obviously, a huge adrenaline rush and very excited.”

It capped a good game for Marchand.

“I thought Brad, personally, that was one of his better games of the playoffs … that’s the Brad Marchand that we know,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.

Lundqvist blamed himself on the overtime goal.

“I thought I made a bad decision,” he said. “It’s a tough play, but I could play it better.

“That was a tough overtime for us. We didn’t really get going, and they came out with a lot of energy and created a lot of chances. I thought we played a pretty good game. We did, but special teams were the difference.”

The Bruins had a power play goal (on four chances) while the Rangers went 0-for-3 with the extra man and are 2-for-31 in the playoffs.

Lundqvist had already made 15 saves in overtime, eight of them on a Bruins power play, keeping the Rangers, who finished Washington off in Game 7 Monday, alive.

“I thought it was pretty even going into the overtime. But we got spanked in the overtime,” said New York coach John Tortorella, whose team is 0-3 in overtime games during these playoffs.

Game 2 is Sunday afternoon in Boston before the series shifts to New York for Games 3 and 4.

The win came three nights after the Bruins pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history in eliminating Toronto. They became the first team ever to rally from three goals down in the third period to win a Game 7.

Defensemen Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug (playing in his first NHL playoff game, as one of three rookies forced into action on the defense) also scored for the Bruins.

Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan scored for the Rangers in a span of 15.3 seconds that bridged the end of the second period and start of the third.

Tuukka Rask made 33 saves for the Bruins, who were led by their captain, Chara, who logged 38:02 of ice time and had nine shots on goal, six hits, an assist and two blocked shots. He led a Boston defense that was missing the injured Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden.

“I’m just trying to help the team out the best I can,” Chara said.

The Bruins, playing with three rookies replacing the injured defensemen, took a 1-0 lead 12:23 into the second period when Chara took a shot that squirted through Lundqvist, who fell backward and knocked the puck into the net.

The Rangers then scored with 1.3 seconds left in the second period and just 14 seconds into the third to take the lead.

Johnny Boychuk’s slapper from the right point hit the outside of the far post with one-tenth of the second remaining in regulation, pushing the game into overtime.

GAME NOTES: New York’s Rick Nash (28 shots, six Thursday) and Boston’s Tyler Seguin (33 shots, four Thursday) still don’t have a playoff goal. … New York’s Michael Del Zotto suffered a bloody left ear when hit with a Bergeron shot later in the first period but returned. … While the Bruins were missing three of their top six defensemen, the Rangers were without D Mark Staal (eye), and they haven’t had D Michael Sauer for almost two seasons because of concussion problems. The Rangers were also missing forwards Ryane Clowe and Darrell Powe, both out with suspected concussions. … Tortorella, who is from the Boston area, refused to talk about coaching at home in the playoffs. “Don’t ask me questions about me; ask me questions about the team, please,” he said. … The Rangers won two of the three games the teams played during the regular season, one in overtime and the other is a shootout. … The Bruins are 47-45 in the opening games of seven-game series, while the Rangers are 29-35. … Lundqvist allowed only seven goals in the seven first-round games. … Thursday’s Bruins fan banner captain was dance instructor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who, despite losing a foot in the Boston Marathon bombings, vows not only to dance again, but also to participate in the marathon in the future. … Face in the crowd: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

NHL NOTEBOOK: San Jose Sharks winger Raffi Torres was suspended Thursday for the rest of the second-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings as a result of his hit on Kings center Jarret Stoll in Game 1 on Tuesday night.

“Rather than hit Stoll through the core of his body, Torres takes a route that makes Stoll’s head the principle point of contact,” NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in announcing the league’s punishment. “Although we’d agree Torres might make initial contact with Stoll’s shoulder, that is a glancing blow. In fact, the head is the principle point of contact. …

“Torres neither leaps nor uses his elbow in delivering this hit. However, if he chooses to attempt a hit such as this, Torres must take a route that ensures he hits through the core of the body and does not make the head the principle point of contact.”

Torres has been suspended three times previously during his career, including a 25-game suspension stemming from a hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa in the 2012 playoffs while playing for Phoenix that later was reduced to 21 games.

Torres was assessed only a two-minute minor for the hit on Stoll, who suffered a head injury in the Kings’ 2-0 win. Stoll didn’t return for the third period on Tuesday night and was not at practice on Wednesday.

Torres had two goals and four assists in 11 regular-season games for the Sharks after he was acquired from the Coyotes. He has one goal in five postseason games.

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