Former Boston University forward A.J. Greer, looking to force his way into the Bruins’ bottom six, advanced his case Tuesday night with a pair of goals, including the OT winner, in a 3-2 preseason triumph over the Rangers at TD Garden.

A.J. Greer celebrated after scoring the winning goal in overtime.
A.J. Greer celebrated after scoring the winning goal in overtime.© John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Greer, who earlier scored the 1-1 equalizer, finished off a Jack Studnicka (two assists) feed in a classic two-on-one break with 1:12 gone in overtime.


The win improved the Bruins’ preseason mark to 1-1-0. They’re back in action Saturday with a 1 p.m. matinee against the visiting Flyers.


“You talk about the impressions you make and the opportunities that are given to you aren’t always going to be provided again,” said Bruins coach Jim Montgomery, asked if candidates for open roster spots understand the urgency to perform in the preseason. “But you want it to come from within — you can’t paint tiger stripes to make a tiger. Right now, A.J. Greer is a tiger.”


Greer, who played two years at BU, turned pro in 2016-17 and has played 47 games with Colorado and New Jersey.


“I don’t know what opportunities were provided to him before, but everyone matures and figures it out at different moments — they have their ‘ah-hah’ moment,” said Montgomery. “They stay in the present and they are not going to let anything get in their way. He clearly seems to have that.”


Could his two goals have put Greer in a position that he now has a varsity roster spot to lose vs one to win?


“We have another 10 days still, but he’s done a great job,” said Montgomery. “If we’re starting [the season] tomorrow, he’s playing.”



The Rangers were the first to get on the board, with ex-Harvard standout Adam Fox wiring in a short-range wrister 7:03 into the first period. The crafty Fox found it far too easy to gain ground on the right side and finished off with a snipe that beat Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman on the short side.


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Greer knotted it with his quick lift to the top shelf over former Bruin Jaroslav Halak with 5:01 gone in the second.


Studnicka set up the Greer strike with an aggressive forecheck on defenseman Ryan Lindgren, a one-time Bruins draft pick, that decked Lindgren on the rear wall. Studnicka made the quick dish into the slot and the 6-foot-3-inch Greer, originally an Avalanche draft pick, roofed it Johnny Bucyk-style for the equalizer.


“I think I’ve always seen myself as playing the kind of hockey the Bruins play,” said Greer. “To be here is a dream come true. I feel fortunate every day to be in the position I am in and just try to make the most of the opportunities.”

Alexis Lafreniere, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft, nudged the Rangers in front, 2-1, with 7:17 gone in the second on a puck Swayman initially appeared to have covered. Charlestown’s Jimmy Vesey, another Harvard alum and Hobey Baker winner, landed the initial shot from the slot.


Swayman dropped to his pads. It looked like he had the puck covered and was waiting for the whistle to stop play. But Lafreniere reached in from the top of the blue paint and knocked it over the goal line.

The Bruins knotted it again with an Oskar Steen shorthanded goal with 6:40 gone in the third period.


Towering center Joona Koppanen, most likely ticketed again for AHL Providence blocked a puck on the penalty kill and carried it from his own end well into Ranger territory on a two-on-one against Fox. As he approached the left circle, Koppanen zipped a pinpoint diagonal pass across the slot and an alert Steen knocked a forehander by goalie Louis Domingue.


Greer said he feels everything is “peaking” for him in this camp.


“Everything on and off the ice is coming to fruition. Sometimes it doesn’t work out right away,” he said, referring to his prior NHL stints. “But it’s perseverance … you have to to see that goal and you’ve got to breathe it, and you’ve got to live it, do everything you can to make it.”