The speedy winger's third goal of the game just 27 seconds into overtime lifted the Rangers to a much-needed 4-3 victory over the Bruins at Madison Square Garden after two straight losses to start the season.
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"I think [Andrew] Ference fumbled the puck," Gaborik said of his game-winner to complete his fifth hat trick as a Ranger. "I just tried to chip it in front of me and tried to get some speed. I tried to settle it down and shoot it at the blocker and got a fortunate bounce on the rebound."
The Rangers led 3-2 late in the third but couldn't hold it. With Nash and Chris Kelly in the box for roughing, Nathan Horton beat Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves) with a wrister from the top of the left circle off a pass from the corner by Gregory Campbell with 4:23 left. The Rangers went on their fifth power play when Daniel Paille tripped Ryan Callahan, but they couldn't connect and the game went to overtime.
In their best period of the season, the Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the first on a pair of goals by Gaborik, who was playing on the left side of Richards and Nash, but scored from the right side and in front.
The Bruins rallied to tie it twice, but the Rangers didn't completely fold.
"I really liked the way we -- it's like a defense in football -- you give but you don't break," coach John Tortorella said. "That's important for us, so early in the year, to lean on a little bit."
Gaborik, who scored 41 goals last season, the third-most in the NHL, gave the Rangers their first lead of the season at 4:36 of the first. He finished a series of up-ice passes from Michael del Zotto to Richards in the middle, to Nash on the left boards, and the big winger found Gaborik to the right of goaltender Tuukka Rask. Gaborik collected the puck, waited for Rask to go down, and fired high from a difficult angle. It was Nash's second assist, and Richards' team-leading third. Just 2:13 later, Gaborik, tipped del Zotto's shot out of the air past Rask.
"We needed something to happen good for us," Richards said. "It was one of those type of games, we get off to a lead, fight it, get it back; it was a good character win, we needed to get something going quick."
The 2-0 lead didn't stand, as Brad Marchand deflected Dougie Hamilton's shot past Lundqvist at 1:05 of the second period on a power play, and Milan Lucic squared it at 12:24. Taylor Pyatt struck just 46 seconds later, backhanding his own rebound past Rask.
"I worry sometimes about the speed, but he gets there," Tortorella said of Pyatt, who signed as a free agent from Phoenix. "He's been a pretty effective player for us. We put him on the second line and he contributes."
Nash, in just his third game as a Ranger, was impressed by the shot-blocking -- the Rangers had 25 -- and his linemates. "You get Richie the puck and he'll find you back. Gabby, you look for him going to the net. It's big to get on the board, now we've got to keep it rolling.''
The Rangers will have little rest. They boarded a train for Philadelphia right after the game and will face the 0-3 Flyers tonight.