Brad Marchand scored 36 seconds into overtime and Tuukka Rask made 33 saves as the Boston Bruins edged the New York Rangers 3-2 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
Marchand scored on a breakaway after taking a long pass from defenceman Charlie McAvoy for the game winner in the opening game of a two-game series between the two Eastern Division NHL clubs.
"That was a real good play by our defence," said coach Bruce Cassidy of the Bruins, who have won four straight and eight of their last nine games.
Anders Bjork and Chris Wagner, with a shorthanded goal, also scored for the Bruins.
Finland's Rask made several clutch stops throughout the game, but also had a momentary lapse of concentration at the end of the third period which could have easily cost them the victory.
With the scored tied 2-2 in the final moments, Rask started skating to the Bruins' bench, signalling that he either thought there was a delayed penalty or that his team was down by a goal and needed an extra attacker on the ice.
Rask made it all the way to the front of the bench before his teammates frantically waved him back into the empty net to finish the third and set the stage for the brief but action-packed overtime.
Cassidy said immediately after the game that he hadn't had a chance to talk to Rask so didn't know what he was thinking but was just happy they came out with the victory.
"You think he would have access to the scoreboard. But at the end of the day we got it squared away," Cassidy said.
The winning goal came quick and followed a scoring chance by the Rangers at the other end of the ice. New York had a two-on-one break but McAvoy intercepted the cross-ice pass and banked the puck off the boards to Marchand who skated in alone and shot it off the post past goaltender Alexandar Georgiev.
Georgiev, who finished with 29 saves, was starting his first game since an altercation with former teammate Tony DeAngelo that led to DeAngelo being cut from the team and put on waivers.
The Rangers also got goals from 23-year-old Julien Gauthier, with his first NHL goal in the opening period, and Kevin Rooney in the third period to tie it 2-2.
Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk appeared to score a goal early in the third putting it in off the crossbar. But after a video review the officials ruled the puck hit the crossbar and came straight down onto the goal line but did not cross over it before bouncing away
Meanwhile, the Rangers game on Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers has been postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak in the Flyers' organization.
The league previously postponed a trio of Flyers games this week: Tuesday at Washington, plus Thursday and Saturday, both against the New Jersey Devils .
The Flyers are not due to play again until February 18.