Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Bruins 3

What it means: With the game tied at 3, second-year center Derek Stepan beat goaltender Tim Thomas with a laser from the left circle at 12:21 of the third to give the Rangers a 4-3 win and 3-0 series edge against the defending Stanley Cup Champs. Marian Gaborik also added a goal -- his 32nd of the season -- in the third period as the Rangers rolled to their fifth straight win against Boston.

Puck problems: The Rangers gave away a two-goal lead with a pair of costly turnovers that allowed the Bruins to tie the game. Anton Stralman coughed up the puck in his own end, a giveaway that led to Benoit Pouliot’s goal at 7:57 of the first. Jordan Caron then intercepted Dan Girardi’s clearing attempt in the second, beating Henrik Lundqvist with a slapshot at the other end to knot the teams at 2 1:40 into play.

Quick start: The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead after a pair of goals in the first 6:15 of play. Moments after their first power-play opportunity expired, defenseman Anton Stralman ripped a wrist shot through traffic to beat Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas at 5:05. Carl Hagelin then banked the puck off Bruin defenseman Greg Zanon for a two-goal lead 1:10 later.

Early exit: Fans at Madison Square Garden were puzzled as both teams left the ice early and headed for their respective dressing rooms with 2:53 remaining in the first period. The premature first intermission was the result of a broken pane of glass that required repair. The glass, cracked by the impact of Brian Rolston’s shot, was fixed during the intermission and the 2:53 was tacked on to the start of the second period.

Three for Cally: Ryan Callahan missed his third straight game with a bruised right foot. The 26-year-old captain sustained the injury after blocking Ilya Kovalchuk’s wrist shot in the Rangers’ 2-0 win against the Devils Monday.

Rough stuff: Sunday’s matinee featured three fights in the first period. Playing in his first NHL game, Boston’s Lane MacDermid dropped the gloves against Rangers heavyweight Mike Rupp. Two seconds after Pouliot’s first-period marker, Brandon Prust gave up 28 pounds to tangle with Milan Lucic at 7:59. Stu Bickel and Gregory Campbell also knuckled up before the conclusion of the first period . The Rangers and Bruins are the top two teams in the league in fighting majors.

Struggling streak: The Bruins have not strung together two straight wins since January 10-12, a 24-game span.

Back in action: Michael Del Zotto returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s 4-3 OT loss to the Lightning with a sore right hip. The 21-year-old defenseman aggravated a pre-existing injury in the team’s 3-2 win over the Hurricanes Friday. Defenseman Dan Girardi (arm) and winger Ruslan Fedotenko (foot), who both appeared to suffer minor injuries Saturday, also played.

Up Next: Rangers at Devils, Tuesday @ 7 p.m.