By Julian Linden
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Boston Bruins scored twice in the final period to beat the New York Rangers 2-1 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday and grab a commanding 3-0 lead in their National Hockey League (NHL) playoff.
Boston fourth-liner Daniel Paille scored the game winner with 3:31 left on the clock after assisting defenseman Johnny Boychuk to tie the score at the start of the period.
The Rangers, who have struggled on offense throughout the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final, had gone ahead when Taylor Pyatt deflected a wrist shot from Ryan McDonagh in the second period but spent most of the game defending.
New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves in an outstanding display but was unable to prevent his team from a loss that left them on the brink of elimination from the Stanley Cup race.
"Hopefully it turns around for us in the next game," Swede Lundqvist said. "The game is so fast so the difference between a goal and a save is so close."
Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask stopped 23 of the 24 shots that came the Finn's way as the Bruins, who won the Stanley Cup two years ago, tied the game when Paille fed the puck to Boychuk and he managed to get one past Lundqvist.
Paille then put the visitors in front when he pounced on a save by Lundqvist, getting his stick on the puck first and trickling it into the net to give the Bruins the win in a match-up of 'Original Six' teams.
"We felt pretty good the whole game, even when we were down 1-0," said Paille. "Obviously we're confident for the series but it's not over."
The teams will meet again in Manhattan on Thursday with the Rangers needing to win to send the series back to Boston. The eventual winner will play either Pittsburgh or Ottawa in the Eastern Conference final.
"It's one game," New York captain Ryan Callahan said.
"We have to win one game at home then go from there. That's the only way we can look at it now."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)