NEW YORK (AP) — The scoreboard showed that the Boston Bruins were only even with the New York Rangers after the first period. In reality, Tuukka Rask had already won the game for the Atlantic Division leaders.
Rask made 19 saves in a one-sided opening period, and defenseman Dougie Hamilton had a goal and two assists to lift the Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the Rangers on Sunday night.
New York jumped ahead 14-1 in shots and took a 1-0 lead it couldn't hold. The Bruins skated off in a tie despite being badly outshot.
"We were stuck in quicksand. We didn't do anything there, just gave them all kinds of chances," Rask said. "Then we finally got that goal, got some life, and the last eight minutes in the first we played good.
"You're outshot 20-9 and it's 1-1 so you're somewhat relieved. We got better and got the lead and never gave it up."
Rask finished with 39 saves. He outdueled New York's Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 27 shots on his 32nd birthday but lost for the second straight day.
Lundqvist allowed a season-high tying six goals.
"Painful. Extremely painful," Lundqvist said. "I thought we played pretty good. They worked hard, but their goals were unbelievable with the bounces they got — a couple of deflections and a post and in."
The Bruins improved to 9-2-3 in their last 14 games and earned their first season-sweep of New York in 31 years.
Rask made 43 saves in a 2-1 win over the Rangers on Nov. 19 in Boston's previous visit to Madison Square Garden.
"I thought we started to get a little bit better in the second half of the first (period)," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We slowly got ourselves back in the game, but were much better in the second and the third.
"We got mad enough after the first 10 minutes that we reacted to doing something. That was huge. We just needed to get over that hump. Once we scored that first goal, it just seemed like everybody relaxed and we got better."
The Rangers fell one point behind second-place Philadelphia — which beat New York 4-2 on Saturday. They lead fourth-place Washington by one point in the Metropolitan Division. All three teams have 20 games remaining.
Lundqvist has allowed nine goals in two games since returning from the Olympics.
"I don't think that was a game that dictated the score," said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who could be traded before New York's next game on Wednesday. "I thought we had some good minutes."
Boston, which didn't have a power play, increased its lead to 5-2 in the third period on a pair of goals by Gregory Campbell — first short-handed at 9:04 and then at even strength with 6:34 left. Milan Lucic finished the scoring with 1:36 remaining.
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