New York Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer (38) cross checks Boston...

New York Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer (38) cross checks Boston Bruins right wing Nathan Horton (18) during the second period. (Nov. 17, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

With a 5-on-3 man advantage in the third period last night, the Rangers had 1:44 to erase a Henrik Lundqvist blunder that provided the Bruins with a two-goal lead.

Mark Recchi's sharp angle shot from the right side had squeezed between Lundqvist's left arm and the goalpost at 1:10 of the period, but Marian Gaborik, off a backhanded feed from rookie Derek Stepan from the left side, beat Tim Thomas to trim the lead to one.

But the Rangers could not cash in on the long two-man advantage with Andrew Ference and Zdeno Chara in the box, and the Bruins held on to beat the Rangers, 3-2. With their three-game winning streak snapped, the Rangers head west Friday for games against the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild this weekend.

"We have to find a way to convert that,'' Brandon Dubinsky said of the two-man advantage. "The players are out there for a reason, and it's a huge part of the game. It -- that we weren't able to. Maybe we were looking for the perfect play, we maybe got to get a few more shots there and try and bang a few in. We tried for a couple - too many pretty plays - no matter what, we've got to find a way to score there.''

The best chance was Ryan Callahan's in front. "It was right next to the pad there,'' he said. "I was just trying to jam it home. I thought I had a little bit of room. I still don't know how it didn't go in."''

Earlier, Dubinsky had shot wide, Gaborik's shot was blocked, a big drive by Michael Del Zotto was absorbed by Thomas.

John Tortorella called time out with 45 seconds left on the two-man advantage, and the Bruins survived. In the final seconds, Thomas somehow got his right toe on a deflection off a Bruin skate.

"I have no problem with how we played,'' Tortorella said. "It's just a couple breakdowns and not executing on the 5 on 3. We pass it, we hold it and don't let the puck go. We have to work on it.''

Lundqvist, who made just 17 saves as the Bruins worked the trap, certainly knew how his error cost the Rangers, now 4-6-1 at home, a chance at a point or two.

"It was a terrible goal,'' Lund_qvist said. "I just have to stop that third one there. Maybe we could have at least gotten it to overtime.''

After a scoreless first period, a shortside power-play goal by Dubinsky, his 11th, with an assist from Lundqvist, his first of the season, provided a brief cushion at 7:10. The score came in the second half of a four-minute minor to Nathan Horton, whose high-stick caught Dubinsky in the face. But two defensive breakdowns spelled second-period doom.

Dan Girardi, playing with seven stitches between his eyes from being hit with the puck in Pittsburgh, lost the puck to Horton along the boards, and the Bruin center found Milan Lucic alone in front, and Lucic went five hole at 11:09.

Then Tyler Seguin flipped the puck past Matt Gilroy in the neutral zone, sped down the right side and picked the top corner. For Seguin, the second overall pick in the July draft, the unassisted goal was his fourth.

"We had three or four two on ones," Gaborik said. "We just have to bear down."

Especially on a different number: The five on threes.

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