- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- For only the second time this season, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask played back-to-back games on consecutive days and he proved crucial as Boston defeated the New York Rangers, 2-1, Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
With the Bruins playing back-to-back games -- Rask made 23 saves in a 4-1 win at Carolina Hurricanes on Monday -- it appeared backup goalie Chad Johnson would get the start against the Rangers. Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the team's optional morning skate at MSG that he was considering going with Johnson, who has played only three games this season, but the coach decided to go with Rask.
Rask played back-to-back games on Oct. 30 (at Pittsburgh) and 31 (at home against Anaehim). If he starts against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday at TD Garden, it will be three games in four nights for the No. 1 goalie.
Rask stopped 16 shots in the opening period Tuesday, including several quality chances by the Rangers. He also stifled Chris Kreider on a penalty shot at 6:16 of the first period.
The game remained scoreless until Thornton, who was a healthy scratch Monday, notched his third goal of the season at 4:58 of the second period. His shot from the right face-off circle knuckled past Henrik Lundqvist's high glove side. The Bruins are 25-4 all time when Thornton scores a goal.
Paille scored a shorthanded goal at 11:30 of the second period to give Boston a 2-0 lead, but the Rangers' Derick Brassard beat Rask at 12:31 with a power-play goal to cut New York's deficit to one goal. The Bruins had killed off 33 consecutive penalties in the last 10 games.
In the third, the Rangers kept attacking and time and again Rask turned them away. He even had a little help from his best friend, the post, on a few occasions in the period.
SEIDENBERG INJURED: Early in the first period, Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg left the game due to an undisclosed injury and did not return. Entering Tuesday's game, he had played all 20 games this season. He logged only 1:01 of ice before leaving the game.
It was the third time this season the Bruins have had to play with five defensemen for the majority of a game due to injury. At one point during the second period, the Rangers' Ryan Callahan drilled Bruins blueliner Matt Bartkowski into the wall bear the Bruins' blue line. Bartkowski struggled to get off the ice and was flexing his left leg when he finally reached the bench. He missed a few shifts but returned.
MILESTONE: Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron played his 600th career NHL game Tuesday night. He made his debut as an 18-year-old rookie at the start of the 2003-04 season. Bergeron signed a long-term contract with the Bruins during the summer that likely will keep him in Boston for the remainder of his career. Bergeron has 129 goals and 285 assists for 444 points during his career. If Bergeron hadn't suffered a severe head and neck injury early in the 2007 season, his totals would that much higher.
DROP 'EM: The Bruins' Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves with the Rangers' Derek Dorsett at 10:47 of the first period. The two went toe-to-toe in the corner to the right of Rask. There weren't many punches thrown but the ones that were connected on both sides.
UP NEXT: After a brief three-game road trip, the Bruins return home for a three-game set at TD Garden, beginning Thursday when they host the St. Louis Blues at 7 p.m.