Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was like the cartoon fair maiden, tied to the railroad tracks, and Rangers forward Chris Kreider was the charging locomotive, bearing down.
Yet Rask survived. He lived through that Kreider penalty shot only 6:16 into the game, and he endured a full night of steaming Rangers attacks -- with Kreider leading so many of them -- for Boston's harrowing 2-1 escape at the Garden.
Of the Rangers' 44 shots on goal, Kreider had four, plus another that was blocked and three more that screamed wide of the net.
Kreider "did everything he was supposed to do,'' Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "His chances were Grade-A chances, his shots were Grade-A shots. As a player, you just have to believe in yourself and keep working hard.''
Kreider was awarded the penalty shot after Johnny Boychuk hooked him from behind on a clear breakaway, just one of what seemed to be countless Kreider forays to the net. All of which came up empty.
"I think I'm always looking to shoot,'' Kreider said. "Obviously, I have to give [Rask] a ton of credit. He had a great game. He's a great goaltender.
"But I'm confident in my ability to shoot a hockey puck, and I think when I hit my spot, it tends to go in. Especially when you're in tight spots, and particularly when your linemates are giving you opportunities and helping you to get chances, you need to finish. You need to reward them. So I guess it's just back to the drawing board and working on it a lot tomorrow.''
On the penalty shot, Kreider sailed into the Boston zone, curled to Rask's left and fired toward the far post.
"I think I just clipped the top of his pants pad or the bottom of his blocker,'' Kreider said. "It managed to stay out. If I hit my spot . . . which I didn't.''
Everything about the Rangers' process was reasonable except, in their eyes, the conclusion. They were beating the Bruins to virtually every loose puck and spending long stretches in the Boston zone.
Yet all they had to show for it was Derick Brassard's power-play goal at 12:31 of the third period. And, though Kreider -- in 17:53 of ice time -- picked up an assist, giving him 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his last 11 games, it was he and his Rangers mates who felt as if they had been run over by a train.
"They played a stingy road game,'' Kreider said of Boston, "and obviously they're a very good team, a very good measuring stick. That being said, we need to finish. We need to capitalize and help out Hank [Lundqvist].''