The two goals Vancouver scored on Brad Marchand's clipping major proved the difference in a 4-3 victory over the Bruins two weeks ago, and on Saturday, the Rangers converted on another major penalty in the closing seconds of overtime to take a 3-2 win over Boston in a showdown for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
This time it was Andrew Ference who was the guilty party, getting a major for charging and a game misconduct after drilling New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh into the boards behind the Rangers net with 3:10 left in OT.
"Obviously I was going as fast as I can to try to get to the puck," Ference said. "When I realized I wasn't going to get there first, he boxed me out, I tried to lean back but I was going too fast. Obviously it was a dangerous position. I tried to let up, but didn't let up enough fast enough."
Marchand's low hit on Vancouver's Sami Salo earned the Bruins winger a five-game suspension. Ference doesn't have the previous history that Marchand did, but he could be facing a suspension of his own for this hit.
"I haven't seen the replay so I don't know how it looks," Ference said. "I just know the intent, I feel like I'm leaning back but obviously didn't slow up fast enough. It's really their call."
Bruins coach Claude Julien also deferred to the league on the possibility of any supplemental discipline, but did defend his player.
"I don't think it really matters what I think about it because the decision is certainly not going to be mine," Julien said. "What I do know is there was no intent to injure there. Certainly we don't like to see that. It's an unfortunate thing. It was a great game. You don't want to see a player get injured. It just made for an unfortunate ending to a great game.
"Andrew Ference is not a dirty player," Julien added. "He's one of those guys that certainly supports what the league is trying to do as far as minimizing those injuries. … We'll let the league look at it and again, they dissect things their own way and we just wait to hear from them."
The Rangers were understandably upset over the play, and Rangers coach John Tortorella insinuated that he expects Ference to face a suspension.
"It's one of the most dangerous hits I've seen in a while," Tortorella said. "Nothing has to be said as far as what should be done. I'm not going to play that. It's a pretty easy call as far as I'm concerned."
McDonagh remained on the ice for several minutes after the hit as the Rangers training staff attended to him. He did not return to the game, but Tortorella did not have an update on his condition after the game.
"I talked to him really quickly after the game," Tortorella said. "I haven't talked to him since."
New York capitalized on the power play when Marian Gaborik scored with 3.6 seconds left in overtime. Ference was clearly frustrated that his penalty cost the Bruins a chance at the second point, but was more concerned with McDonagh's condition.
"You obviously don't want to cause somebody injury or anything like that," Ference said. "The five minutes doesn't help the team, but on top of that you just hope that you don't put a guy in a bad spot. It's a bad thing kind of both ways."
Steven Kampfer was recalled from Providence after the game and will accompany the team to Philadelphia for Sunday's matchup with the Flyers. He will fill in on the Bruins blue line if Ference is given a suspension.