NEW YORK — It took 40 years for Original Six rivals Boston and New York to face off again in the playoffs.
The Bruins seem intent on wrapping up the long-awaited get-together in a hurry.
Daniel Paille got the winning goal with 3:31 left — after Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk tied it earlier in the third period— and Boston put the Rangers on the brink of elimination with a 2-1 victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night.
Boston leads the best-of-seven series 3-0 and can reach the conference final Thursday at Madison Square Garden. Only three teams in NHL history have rallied from an 0-3 hole to advance — but the Bruins were one of the teams to squander a 3-0 lead, three years ago in a second-round series against the Flyers.
"We can talk about it all we want, but that's in the past," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We had to live with that and we still have to live with that."
Boston also nearly lost a 3-1 series edge in the opening round this year against Toronto, before rallying from a three-goal deficit in the third period and capturing Game 7 in overtime.
"The Toronto series, I didn't think our team was in the zone the way it is right now," Julien said. "I anticipate — knowing my team — that we're going to come out the same next game and certainly not be the Jekyll and Hyde team that we were in the first round."
The Bruins trailed 1-0 heading into the third, but Boychuk tied it with his fourth of the playoffs (he netted just once in 44 regular-season games). The Rangers hadn't lost in regulation when leading after two periods since Feb. 4, 2010.
Taylor Pyatt made it 1-0 in the second for the Rangers. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was sharp until the third period and finished with 32 saves.
"You have to be pretty happy with the situation right now," said Tuukka Rask, who had 23 saves for Boston. "We were really happy with our effort, I think this was our best defensive effort in a long, long time."
The Rangers again couldn't get their power play going, failing in both of their chances and dropping to 0-for-10 in the series and 2-for-38 in this year's playoffs.
Sharks even series: Logan Couture scored on the power play in the second period for the winning goal as the host Sharks defeated the Kings 2-1, tying their West series at two games apiece.
The home team has won all four games in the series.
Mike Richards scored on the power play to get Los Angeles within 2-1 but San Jose held on as Antti Niemi had 22 saves.
Avalanche: The organization was silent on a Denver Post report that one of Denver's Stanley Cup-winning favorites, Hall-of-Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, was about to be named coach.
Predators: Phil Housley was named an assistant, filling the spot left open by the firing of associate coach Peter Horachek. Housley played 21 NHL seasons with eight teams, and just coached the United States to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships.
First Period—None. Penalties—Jagr, Bos (holding), 4:08; Marchand, Bos (cross-checking), 7:42; Dorsett, NYR (roughing), 7:42.
Second Period—1, N.Y. Rangers, Pyatt 2 (McDonagh), 3:53. Penalties—Horton, Bos (hooking), 1:31.
Third Period—2, Boston, Boychuk 4 (Paille, Thornton), 3:10. 3, Boston, Paille 2 (Thornton, Campbell), 16:29. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Boston 9-14-11—34. N.Y. Rangers 11-5-8—24. Power-play opportunities—Boston 0 of 0; N.Y. Rangers 0 of 2. Goalies—Boston, Rask 7-3-0 (24 shots-23 saves). N.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 4-6-0 (34-32). A—17,200 (17,200). T—2:30. Referees—Dan O'Rourke, Kevin Pollock. Linesmen—Lonnie Cameron, Jay Sharrers.