BOSTON---When the game between the NHL’s Beasts of the East was over, Marian Gaborik was wearing the team’s Broadway hat to celebrate his two goals, the second a game-winner with 3.6 seconds left in overtime.
But a shadow loomed over the hard-fought 3-2 victory: The condition of defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who was recklessly run into the boards by the Bruins’ Andrew Ference with 3:10 left in overtime, was unclear.
As McDonagh lay face-down on the ice, the Rangers went to confront Ference, who was given five minutes for charging and a game misconduct. McDonagh, who may have a concussion, eventually skated off with the trainer. Coach John Tortorella said he spoke with the defenseman briefly after the game but gave no update on his condition. He did travel with the team back to New York. Tortorella termed it "one of the most dangerous hits I've seen in a while. Nothing has to be said as far as what should be done."
Although the Rangers didn’t generate, as captain Ryan Callahan said, “any glorious chances” during most of the 4 on 3, “ you want to may them pay for it (the Ference hit) and make the penalty count.’’
Gaborik’s high backhand---his 25th goal of the season---over a scrambling Tuukka Rask came after the goaltender amazingly stopped bang-bang shots by Brad Richards Callahan with his glove on a 4-on-3 that was triggered by Ference’s hit. “Chaos,” was how Callahan described it. ‘‘I thought I scored,” said Richards, who played his best game in weeks. “All I saw was the red light do on. Then I saw Gabby jumping around.”
The game at TDGarden between the two top teams in the East (the Rangers have 64 point, the Bruins 62) lived up to the hype. It was the 15th time in the last 18 games between these teams with similar styles that the difference was one goal.
After a scoreless first, the teams each scored twice in the second period.
The Rangers penalty-kill (4-for-4) kept the Blueshirts in the game, denying two full man-advantages in the first period and a carryover into the second. Dan Girardi blocked two blasts from Zdeno Chara, and limped off, but returned.
Nine seconds after Callahan’s penalty expired, he sped down left wing with Prust down the middle, and the captain’s shot beat Rask shortside at 1:33. Shawn Thornton drew Mike Rupp into a fight at 2:44 and the scrap seemed to spark the Bruins, as Ference drove to the crease, took David Krejci’s cross-ice pass from the right boards, deked Lundqvist and deposited a backhander for the tie at 3:28.
The Bruins were outshooting the Rangers 11-5 in the period, but Carl Hagelin’s pass bounced off Dennis Seidenberg’s stick and Gaborik’s swift slapper at 14:30 zipped by Rask.
Tortorella called a time out with 3:53 left, but his charges couldn’t hold the lead. Adam McQuaid’s shot from the right boards, with Chris Kelly screening Lundqvist in front, hit Brian Boyle's stick and the puck went top shelf at 19:11.
“I was really rattled for about 10 minutes during the second intermission,” said Lundqvist. “I calmed down for the last few minutes and focused. I knew the next goal was going to win the game.” It did. Said Gaborik, who hadn’t scored in eight games: “Everyone left everything out there.”