NEW YORK (AP) _ Carl Corazzini stepped in for injured captain Joe Thornton and gave the Boston Bruins more than they could've hoped for.
Corazzini, a 24-year-old rookie playing in his fourth game since being recalled from Providence of the AHL, scored the first two goals of his NHL career to lead the Bruins to a 4-1 victory Tuesday night and a sweep of the home-and-home series with the New York Rangers.
``It's the most incredible thing,'' Corazzini said. ``I thought playing in my first NHL game in Buffalo was probably the greatest thing but nothing compares to this. This is one of the greatest days in my whole life.''
Boston went ahead 1-0 on Corazzini's first goal. With New York on a power play, the puck eluded Rangers defenseman Lawrence Nycholat at the left point and Ted Donato raced down the ice on a two-man breakaway with Corazzini.
Donato sent a pass to Corazzini, who crossed the Rangers blue line and wristed a shot past goalie Mike Dunham.
``I didn't think Teddy was going to give it to me,'' Corazzini said. ``It was a heads-up play. I wasn't giving it up. I thought if I tried to make a pass on a two-on-none and we didn't score I was going to get some heat so I didn't want to make the wrong play.
``I think Dunham froze a little bit thinking I was going to pass it back. Teddy was the decoy.''
Boston took a 2-0 lead at 17:34 of the second period on Jiri Slegr's fourth goal.
Brian Rolston skated out of the left circle and slid the puck across the crease. Slegr joined the fray and chipped the puck past Dunham. Slegr has two goals in two games with the Bruins, both against the Rangers, since being acquired from Vancouver over the weekend.
The Bruins outscoring the Rangers 9-3 in the two-game series that began Monday in Boston.
``We didn't play well the last two games,'' New York center Bobby Holik said. ``It could be a breaking point. January is a tough schedule and we've got to do a lot better than we have done.''
New York pulled within 2-1 at 1:21 of the third period on Brian Leetch's eighth goal. With the Rangers on a power play, Leetch blasted a slap shot from the high slot past Andrew Raycroft.
``Leetch had a great shot and we got it back to 2-1 with 14 minutes left,'' forward Eric Lindros said. ``That's plenty of time to come back, and we go and dump it.''
Boston took a 3-1 lead at 4:33 on Rolston's 14th goal. With Boston on a two-man advantage, Rolston's hard slap shot from the top of the right circle beat Dunham cleanly.
``It's difficult anytime you lose,'' Dunham said. ``We have to put some moves together. We need wins before it's too late.''
Corazzini's second goal made it 4-1 at 9:33. Dunham made a pad save on a shot by P.J. Axelsson, but could not stop Corazzini's rebound shot from point-blank range.
``Any time you lose your best player it's tough, and Joe Thornton is one of the best players in the league,'' Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. ``From top to bottom everybody stepped up and made up for that loss.
``We're excited for Carl. He's played extremely well since he came up. he has tremendous speed and he is a responsible player. The chances he got were because he plays sound defensively.''