BOSTON -- For the second time in three seasons, the Boston Bruins advance to the Eastern Conference finals, after a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 5 of their semifinal series Saturday evening at TD Garden.
The Bruins will face the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins for the East's spot in the Stanley Cup finals. That series won't start until the Western Conference finals matchup is set.
After failing to close out the series with a sweep in Game 4 on Thursday in New York, the Bruins responded on home ice in Game 5. Newest Boston sensation and rookie defenseman Torey Krug scored a power-play goal, his fourth tally of this series, while teammate Gregory Campbell scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 13:41 of the second period. Campbell added an empty-net goal with 50.4 seconds remaining in regulation in an all-out effort. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 28 saves.
The Rangers' lone goal was scored by Dan Girardi. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner, New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist, finished with 29 saves.
The Bruins' game plan was to score early and often, but the Rangers got on board first.
The Rangers' power play, which has struggled all season, came alive in Games 4 and 5. New York capitalized on its first man-advantage when the Rangers' Brian Boyle set a screen in front of Rask to allow Girardi's slap shot from the point to find the back of the net at 10:39 of the first period. That goal was only their third power-play tally in 42 chances in the postseason and second in as many games.
Boston's best scoring opportunity of the opening period came at 13:27 when forward Milan Lucic had a point-blank shot all alone from the slot, but Lundqvist stoned him with a terrific glove save.
The second period was a nonstop physical battle. It's rare to see Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg off his skates, but the Rangers' Chris Kreider crushed the veteran blueliner twice on one shift early in the period. Seidenberg was playing in his first game of this series after being sidelined with a lower-body injury.
The Bruins pushed back and gained momentum when Krug scored a power-play at 3:48 of the period to tie the game at 1-1. He stepped into a one-timer and beat Lundqvist to the top right corner. With the tally, Krug became the first defenseman to score four goals in his first five Stanley Cup playoff games in the post-expansion era.
Chants of "Kruuug" quickly arose from the 17,565 in attendance.
The Bruins also gained some momentum after a big penalty kill when rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski was called for tripping at 6:39 of the second period. Boston responded with an offensive surge and was rewarded for the effort.
With the game tied at 1-1, the Bruins' energy line, which accounted for both goals in Boston's 2-1 win in Game 3 at New York, did it again when Campbell's goal at 13:41 gave the Bruins a 2-1 advantage. Prior to Campbell's second goal of the postseason, the Rangers' Derek Dorsett was trying to bait the Bruins' Daniel Paille to no avail. Instead, Paille's relentless attack after the ensuing faceoff produced Campbell's goal.
In the third period, the Bruins ended with a flurry. They now have a chance to return to the Stanley Cup finals with a series win over the Penguins.
When the final buzzer sounded, the fans began to chant, "We want the Cup. We want the Cup. We want the Cup."
SAVE OF THE GAME: With the Bruins holding a marginal 2-1 lead in the third period, the Rangers' Ryan Callahan had a clean breakaway, but Rask made a blocker save to secure the one-goal lead at 8:38.
DROP 'EM: There were numerous times during Game 4 when the Rangers were trying to bait the effective Bruins fourth-liners to drop the gloves. Shawn Thornton did not fall for it. Prior to Game 5, Thornton was asked if he would fight in the playoffs and he admitted he would have no problem dropping the gloves, but only at the right time. Again, the Rangers tried to bait him, and this time he obliged when he went toe-to-toe with New York's Derek Dorsett. Thornton wasn't too happy to get jumped at center ice by two Ranger players, so when he had Dorsett on the ice, he wouldn't let go. Both were given five for fighting and another two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.
UP NEXT: The Bruins will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals, with times and dates to be determined.