Bruins crush Rangers to take 2-0 series lead

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It’s something teams need in order to win in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

When the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, it seemed like a different line stepped up in each round at various times to push them through.

It looks like it’s happening again.

After depending on the top line centred by David Krejci with wingers Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton to get by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, Boston’s second line has come to life against the New York Rangers.

Centre Patrice Bergeron, who scored the two big goals against the Leafs in Game 7, and linemate Brad Marchand helped set up defenceman Johnny Boychuk for the game-winner and Marchand added a crushing insurance goal seconds into the third period as the Bruins beat the Rangers 5-2 Sunday. Boston now owns a 2-0 lead in their NHL Eastern Conference semifinal.

The goal that made it 4-2 looked a lot like the goal that won Game 1 in overtime with Bergeron finding Marchand driving to the net.

After getting skunked in round one, Marchand now has a couple of goals.

Even ancient Jaromir Jagr, the third man on that line, had a great chance.

“They were down 2-0 in their last series and we know we can’t take them lightly,” said Marchand of the Rangers’ first-round comeback against the Washington Capitals. “We’ve got to make sure we go to New York being very hungry and ready to go out hard.”

Game 3 is Tuesday night in Manhattan.

The Rangers were strong through the first two periods and only good work by Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (he faced 27 shots through two periods) kept it even as the teams swapped goals. Boychuk gave the Bruins the 3-2 lead when Marchand found him coming late in a 4-on-4 situation at 12:08 of the second. The Bruins did a great job of layering their offence in the Rangers zone Sunday with guys in front, others hunting down rebounds in the slot and the defence accounting for a couple of goals.

“I thought our first period was maybe our best playoff hockey we’ve played up to this point,” said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who tied the game in the first period after Bruins rookie defenceman Torey Krug had opened the scoring. “We have to take the positives out of those first two periods. That’s the way we have to play. If we play that way, we’ll be okay.”

Bruins coach Claude Julien gave praise to his goaltender.

“The second period, you have to give Tuukka a lot of credit,” he said. “The turnovers and giveaways we had in the second weren’t something that we do much, but certainly something that could have been disasterous tonight. The third period we came out a much better team.

“It was a good game on our part. Not perfect, but a good game.”

Marchand’s goal was a killer as he scored on a 2-on-2 situation, beating the coverage of Rangers shutdown defenceman Dan Girardi, who wound up minus-4 on the day, to give either team its first two-goal lead of the series.

“The first shift of the third killed us,” said Girardi. “I have to be ready to defend the pass there. They didn’t have much room, but I obviously have to be either on the strong side blocking that or on Marchand’ stick. That really put us behind the eight ball.”

There were a couple of positives for the Rangers. While the power play didn’t score and is now 0-for-8 in this series and 2-for-38 in the playoffs, it did show signs of life. Also, Rick Nash – remember him? – scored his first goal of the playoffs, beating Bruins monster Zdeno Chara to do it, to boot.

So, there’s that.

“Listen, we don’t want to lose two games here,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella. “No one does. But there’s no give in the team. There will be no give in the team. We need to win a game; not look anywhere else, just try to win our first home game this series.”