Series (Game 4 of 4)

Boston leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, December 22nd
Game 2: Monday, January 19th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 20th
Game 4: Thursday, March 4th

Rangers 1

(23-32-5, 58 pts)

Bruins 3

(32-16-7, 84 pts)

7:30 PM ET, March 4, 2004

TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

1 2 3 T
NYR 0 0 11
BOS 0 2 13

S. Gonchar (Bruins - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

J. Thornton (Bruins - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

J. Slegr (Bruins - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

NY Rangers (23-31-7-5) at Boston (31-16-3-7) 7:30 pm EST

BOSTON (Ticker) -- Sergei Gonchar and Michael Nylander make their debuts for the Boston Bruins on Thursday night when they host the New York Rangers at the FleetCenter.

The Bruins took advantage of the Washington Capitals' desire to decrease their payroll by acquiring Gonchar on Wednesday for fellow defenseman Shaone Morrisonn and first- and second-round picks in the 2004 draft. On Thursday, Boston acquired Nylander from Washington for a second-round pick in the 2006 draft.

The 29-year-old Gonchar had seven goals and 42 assists in 56 games with Washington to lead NHL defensemen with 49 points. Since the start of the 1998-99 season, Gonchar is the leading goal scorer among defensemen with 109 and is second only to Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom in points with 317.

The 31-year-old Nylander missed the first 63 games of the season with a broken right leg and has two assists in three contests.

Boston is 1-2-2-1 in its last six games and is two points behind Toronto and Ottawa for the lead in the Northeast Division.

On Tuesday, Joe Thornton and Martin Lapointe scored for the Bruins in a 3-2 defeat at Toronto. Thornton went without a face shield for the first time since returning from a fractured cheekbone on January 27 and ended a six-game goal-scoring drought. His cheekbone was fractured during a fight with New York's Eric Lindros in Boston's 5-2 win here on January 19.

The Rangers, likely to miss the playoffs for a franchise-record seventh straight season, sent right wing Alexei Kovalev to the Montreal Canadiens for right wing Jozef Balej and a 2004 second-round draft pick on Tuesday night.

The deal was announced just after the Rangers' 4-3 defeat to the Atlanta Thrashers. Kovalev was whistled for three penalties with the final one leading to Randy Robitaille's power-play goal that gave the Thrashers a 4-2 lead with 10:57 remaining.

In addition, New York dealt popular two-time Norris Trophy winner Brian Leetch to Toronto and shipped center Petr Nedved and goaltender Jussi Markkanen to Edmonton, all on Thursday.

Mike Dunham allowed two goals on three shots before being replaced by Markkanen 9:33 into the game. Markkanen made 26 saves, but gave up goals to defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist and Robitaille.

The Rangers posted a 4-2 win over the Bruins on December 22, but the Bruins swept a home-and-home series on January 19 and 20. In addition to the scrap between Thornton and Lindros, the January 19 contest featured a fight between Matthew Barnaby and Hal Gill as well as the ejection of Boston defenseman Dan McGillis for attempting to injure Darius Kasparaitis. The Bruins won the rematch, 4-1, in a game that featured few scuffles.