NEW YORK — Marian Gaborik’s third goal of the game, 27 seconds into overtime, sent hats flying onto the rink while giving the New York Rangers their first win of the season and the Boston Bruins their first defeat.
Gaborik completed his hat trick and the Rangers’ 4-3 win at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night by tapping in a deflection of his own miss on a breakaway, helping the Rangers avoid lamenting several wasted opportunities to score in the second and third periods.
Boston (2-0-1) finally broke through on a power play for the first time this season and remained perfect on its penalty killing, but fell after overcoming an early 2-0 deficit.
Gaborik’s goals were his first of the season, while Taylor Pyatt added a goal for New York, his second of the year.
Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic each scored his second goal of the year for Boston while Nathan Horton scored his first goal of the year for the Bruins.
Before the game, Rangers coach John Tortorella opted to start Gaborik on the top line with Rick Nash and Brad Richards, hoping to spark his slumping Rangers by putting his stars together from the beginning.
It worked quickly, with the Rangers going up 2-0 in the first on Gaborik’s two goals and all three players earning a point on the first score.
But the Rangers wasted several opportunities later in the game, with one goal waved off because of a penalty in the second period, when New York also failed to even get a shot off during a 5-on-3 advantage.
The Bruins tied the game 3-3 with 4:23 left in the game, when Horton scored on a wrist shot off a pass from Gregory Campbell from behind the net. The puck went straight through Henrik Lundqvist’s legs and came with 19 seconds left on a double penalty on the Bruins’ Chris Kelly (interference) and the Rangers’ Nash (holding).
New York had yet another chance to score in the final minute of regulation but Bruins goalie Tuuka Rusk, who had 29 saves, stopped a flurry of shots, including a breakaway attempt by Nash.
The Rangers wasted a chance to add to their 3-2 lead about midway through the third period as Boston was able to escape a 5-on-3 situation when Aaron Johnson was called for tripping and Adam McQuaid was called for boarding within 47 seconds of each other. But the Bruins again showed off their penalty-killing skills, as the Rangers did not get a shot off despite the two-man advantage.
Trailing 2-0 after the first period, Boston finally took advantage of a power play to get on the board early in the second period, when Marchand followed Dougie Hamilton’s shot in front of the net 1:05 into the second. The goal came less than a minute after Rangers defenseman Marc Staal was called for a slashing penalty, the first of three Rangers’ penalties in the period.
Lucic later poked in a deflection in front of the net for his second goal of the year, to tie it 2-2.
But the Rangers, criticized by their Tortorella for not getting into the game mentally during their 0-2-0 start, responded less than a minute later.
Pyatt took a feed from Derek Stepan and poked in a backhand shot in front of the net for a 3-2 lead with 6:50 to play in the second.
The Rangers appeared to go up 4-2 when Carl Hagelin scored with 3:36 left in the second, but the goal did not count as center Mike Rupp was called for roughing right before the shot.
New York gained its first lead of the season, 1-0, at the 4:36 mark of the first period, when Gaborik flipped the puck in over Rask’s right shoulder, off an assist from Nash and Richards.
Less than two minutes later, Gaborik gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead, poking in a deflection after Michael Del Zotto’s miss, with 13:11 left in the period.
NOTES: Rangers right wing Arron Asham was out with a strained groin. Tortorella said Asham did not sustain any injuries during his fight with Pittsburgh Penguins winger Tanner Glass on Sunday night. … Tortorella acknowledged starting his star-studded lineup of Nash, Richards and Gaborik could lead to a balance problem eventually, but he said of the Rangers before the game, “Right now, we don’t lose any balance because we have only one guy playing (well) — Nash.” … Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was out for the second straight game with a lower-body injury. … Bruins defenseman McQuaid and Rangers center Brian Boyle got into an extended fight at the 17:31 mark of the first period after McQuaid charged Boyle and the pair battled into the boards. After the pair exchanged several blows, Boyle’s helmet popped off. They were both given five-minute penalties for fighting, with McQuaid drawing two minutes for roughing. The Rangers did not convert on the power play.