What it means: Saturday's showdown between the top two teams in the East lived up to its top billing. Marian Gaborik notched his second goal of the game to give the Rangers a 3-2 (OT) win over the Bruins in Boston's TD Garden. Gaborik tallied the game winner with less than four seconds to play in overtime, with the Rangers up a man after Andrew Ference's five-minute major and game misconduct.
Scary sight: With 3:10 left to play in overtime, Ference blasted Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh from behind and sent him crashing face-first into the end boards. McDonagh lay on the ice for several minutes before skating off gingerly and heading to the dressing room. Ference could face supplementary discipline for the play.
All tied up: After a scoreless first period, the Rangers and Bruins traded a pair of goals in the middle frame. Blueshirts captain Ryan Callahan tallied on the rush 1:31 into the second period and the Bruins answered with a goal of their own less than two minutes later on Ference’s backhander at 3:28. The Rangers again reclaimed the lead as Gaborik connected with a bouncing puck at the left circle, sending his slapshot past Tuukka Rask with 5:30 left, but the Bruins evened the score with less than a minute left. Defenseman Adam McQuaid was credited with a goal after his shot deflected off Rangers forward Brian Boyle and past a screened Henrik Lundqvist with 49 seconds on the ticker.
Perfect PK: With the Rangers whistled for the first four penalties of the game, the team's penalty-killing unit was clutch in stuffing Boston's power play. The Rangers, who entered Saturday's match 25-for-26 on the PK in the last 12 games, killed off all four.
Surprise starter: Bruins coach Claude Julien was cryptic in his pregame press conference when asked to name his starting goaltender, and for good reasons -- backup Rask received the nod. The 24-year-old Finnish netminder entered Saturday’s game with only two wins in five career starts against the Rangers, but boasted impressive numbers with a 1.62 goals-against average and .946 save percentage.
Back in a jiffy: When named one of the NHL’s 36 All-Stars earlier this month, Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said he planned on staying away from hulking blueliner Zdeno Chara and his cannon of a shot. He didn’t Saturday, however. After blocking Chara’s slapshot for the second time in the first period, Girardi skated to the bench in pain. The 27-year-old, whose hand was looked at by team trainer Jim Ramsay, returned the next shift. Girardi, who has four goals and 13 assists this season, recorded his 100th career assist on Gaborik’s second-period marker.
Rough stuff: The top two teams in the Eastern Conference also lead the league in fighting majors. After the heavyweight bout between Mike Rupp and Shawn Thornton in the second period, the Rangers are first in the NHL with 36 fighting majors, while the Bruins are second with 33.
Up next: Rangers vs. Jets, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.