The Rangers third-period scoring surge continues.
Jesper Fast deflected Keith Yandle’s left point shot down and past Tuukaa Rask with 1:42 left in regulation, giving the Rangers a 2-1 comeback victory over the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
It was the 11th third-period goal for the Blueshirts in the last five games. They had three third period goals in three of the last four games.
Trailing 1-0 after two periods, the Rangers tied the score on Derick Brassard’s goal 35 seconds into the third. Ryan McDonagh kept the puck in the zone and moved it to Mats Zuccarello, who got the puck to Brassard, open at the right post. He roofed it over Rask for his 15th of the season.
Henrik Lundqvist (32 saves), who had allowed a 40-foot, uncontested shot by Jimmy Hayes past his stick at 9:05 of the second, make an acrobatic save on Max Talbot, and Viktor Stalberg, who had goals in the previous two games, rang the far post from the right side at 4:22.
In the first game of the second half of the regular season, the Rangers (23-14-5) moved two points ahead of the Islanders, who they visit on Thursday. The Blueshirts have collected five of a possible six points on this three-game homestand, against the Stars, Capitals and Bruins.
The Rangers played more than half the game with five defensemen. In the second period, Dan Girardi left the ice at 4:46, went to the dressing room with what the team called a “lacerated hand” and did not return.
The Bruins (21-15-5) far too easily retrieved pucks in the offensive zone and sent them to the point for shots as the Rangers chased. About two minutes in, Chris Kreider, playing his first game after missing two with a cut on his right hand, skated down the left side on an odd-man rush, made the decision to shoot, but his stick snapped from the left.
Having a rough evening, Kreider fumbled the puck in mid-ice, and Hayes came across the blue line between Kevin Klein and Keith Yandle, who were backing in, and snapped an uncontested shot for the lead. At that point, there were few rebounds, not much energy and little possession time for the Blueshirts.
Rask made a good blocker save on Dan Boyle at 16:38. In the last minute, the Bruins almost made it 2-0. Lundqvist stopped Zach Trotman’s try from the right point with his pad and Brett Connolly spun with the rebound but hit the post.
A cautious first period had tilted the Bruins’ way after the Rangers killed Jayson Megna’s high-sticking penalty on Loui Eriksson at 8:56. The Rangers, wearing dark blue Heritage jerseys for the second consecutive game, had some good opportunities early, but Rask made five saves.
With just over four minutes to play in the period, the Bruins came the closest to scoring, when Kreider, retrieving the puck in the Rangers zone, coughed it up to Ryan Spooner, who deked Lundqvist. But his shot slid off the post. Two minutes later, with Lundqvist on his stomach and four Rangers in front of the crease, Zac Rinaldo found the puck but his shot missed the net.