Kovalev snapped a nine-game scoreless drought with two goals as
the Rangers improved their slim playoff hopes with a 3-1 win over
the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
The Rangers, who spoiled Boston's bid to clinch a playoff berth,
are four points behind the New York Islanders for the final playoff
spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers have four games left,
including one against the Islanders on Long Island on Tuesday. The
Islanders have five games remaining.
"We took the team out to dinner (Friday) night and they know
what is going on," Rangers coach Glen Sather said. "We just have
to worry about the game we have next."
Kovalev, acquired from Pittsburgh on Feb. 10, scored his first
goal since March 1 and recorded his first multigoal game since the
"All I could do was fight through it," Kovalev said. "It
would have been better to have had that slump at the beginning of
the season. You just keep playing through it."
Mike Dunham, who wasn't in uniform for New York's loss to
Pittsburgh on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, made 30 saves
for the Rangers.
Dunham, who had a pair of shutouts in two of his previous three
starts, knows his team needs to play well to make the playoffs.
"There's no room for error," he said. "We feel good (now).
It's a roller-coaster ride."
The Bruins, 2-2-1 since general manager Mike O'Connell took over
as interim coach after firing Robbie Ftorek on March 19, will earn
a postseason berth with their next two points.
"I don't think we had the legs we had (Thursday) night in
Philadelphia," O'Connell said. "You have to give the other team
credit. They played hard and made the most of their chances."
The Rangers took a 1-0 with one minute left in the first period
when Kovalev took Matthew Barnaby's pass from the left corner and
knocked in a shot from the top of the crease.
Kovalev's second goal made it 2-0 midway into the second period.
Petr Nedved made a spinning backhand pass to Barnaby, who fed
Kovalev in the right circle. Kovalev then one-timed a shot past
Steve Shields for his 35th goal.
The Bruins cut it to 2-1 when Thornton converted a two-on-one
break with Glen Murray by firing a wrist shot just under the
Leetch beat Shields on the stick side with a blistering wrist
shot from the right circle for a power-play goal that made it 3-1
early in the third period.
Shields stopped 21 shots.
"You're not going to win scoring one goal in your own barn,"
New York's Mark Messier remained two assists behind former
Bruin Ray Bourque for third place on the NHL's career list. ... The
teams split the season series, winning two apiece. ... The Rangers
have the league's 10th-best power play in home games, but are just
22nd on the road. ... Boston has four games left, with two at home.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: TD Garden Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Referees: Bill McCreary, Kevin Pollock Linesmen: Brian Murphy, Dan Schachte
Attendance: 17,565 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Alex Kovalev (33)
Assists: Matthew Barnaby, Boris Mironov
Alex Kovalev (34)
Assists: Petr Nedved, Matthew Barnaby
Joe Thornton (35)
Assists: Glen Murray, Mike Knuble