NEW YORK - The long-awaited return of forward Rick Nash wasn't enough for the New York Rangers to overcome a superb performance by Boston goalie Tuukka Rask.
Rask stopped 43 shots, five from Nash, in Boston's 2-1 win over the Rangers Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
It was Nash's first game back since he suffered a concussion Oct. 8 at San Jose. He missed 17 games due to the injury. In his absence, the Rangers were 9-8 and scored just three goals in their last three games.
Prior to the concussion, Nash registered three assists in three games. The left wing led New York (10-11-0) with 21 goals in the truncated 2012-13 season.
Nash skated on a line with center Brad Richards and right wing Ryan Callahan.
Rask is now 5-1-1 in his last seven starts for Boston (14-6-1), which entered the night second to Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division.
Henrik Lundqvist wasn't tested nearly as much Rask. The Ranger goalie stopped 20 Boston shots.
Richards had the best chance to tie the game, but his shot off a Rask rebound hit the post with just over 14 minutes to play in the game.
Daniel Paille's short-handed goal, a backhander, gave Boston a 2-0 edge at 11:30. But the Rangers struck back quickly on the power play, receiving a goal from center Derick Brassard from John Moore and Chris Kreider just 1:01 after Boston's goal.
Prior to the Ranger power-play goal, their 13th of the season, the Bruins had successfully killed off 33 straight penalties over its last 9-plus games. The last power-play goal scored against Boston before Brassard's was by Pittsburgh on Oct. 30.
Boston went ahead 1-0 at 4:58 of the second period on left wing Shawn Thornton's third goal of the season. Thornton picked up a loose puck in front of the Ranger bench and fired a wrist shot over Lundqvist's left shoulder from the right faceoff circle.
Nash's return seemed to inspire the Rangers as they controlled the first period, out-shooting Boston 16-6. His first solid scoring chance came with just over two minutes left in the opening period when his snap shot from inside the left circle was turned away by Rask.
Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk took down Chris Kreider as he skated in alone on Rask at 6:16 of the first period. The officials awarded Kreider a penalty shot, but Rask made a kick save on the Ranger left wing's wrist shot.
NOTES: Bruins C Patrice Bergeron played in his 600th NHL game Tuesday night. ... Ranger RW Derek Dorsett received nine minutes in penalties in the first two periods, bringing his season-total to 82 minutes, the most in the NHL. ... Bruins G Tuukkaa Rask's GAA of 1.64 entering the Ranger game was the third lowest in the league behind Los Angeles' Ben Scrivens (1.24) and Minnesota's Josh Harding (1.25). ... Rangers C Derek Stepan has four goals and five assists in his last 10 games.