The New York Rangers host the Boston Bruins tonight at Madison Square Garden.
The puck drops at 7:00pm
The Rangers are looking to bounce back after yesterday’s disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. The loss, coupled with a Flyers win this afternoon, dropped the Rangers to third in the Metropolitan Division with a 33-25-3 record for 69 points; one behind the Flyers. Henrik Lundqvist is back in net tonight with 2.47 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. With an assist yesterday, Brad Richards ties Mats Zuccarello‘s season stats as team points leaders. Each have 15 goals for 43 points but Zuccarello remains out with a fractured hand. Derek Stepan is the closest player to the leaders with his 10 goals for 37 points. Only one point behind is Derek Brassard with 13 goals and 23 assists. Brassard is also looking to continue his eight game point streak which totals 10 points in the span. Rick Nash leads the team with 19 goals included in his 29 points and two points in the last two games. After extending his contract, Dan Girardi is on a roll and looking to continue from his big game yesterday. With five hits, six blocks, and three shots on goal, Girardi is looking to add to his numbers for the season. With 150 hits this season Girardi leads the team by a large margin. Ryan McDonagh has 130 hits while Chris Kreider has 123. Girardi also leads the team with 127 blocked shots, while McDonagh adds 104; no one else’s numbers are even in the same rink. Derek Dorsett is out tonight as the fourth line returns to the familiar lineup of Brian Boyle- Dominic Moore- Daniel Carcillo.
The Boston Bruins enter tonight’s contest with a 37-17-5 with 79 points for first place in the Atlantic Division. The most likely starter for the Bruins is Tuukka Rask. Boasting a 2.16 goals against average and a .927 save percentage with five shut outs, Rask is the number one goalie on the team. David Krejci leads the Bruins in both assists, 37, and total points with 50. Although fifth in points, Brad Marchand leads the team with 20 goals for 38 points. Between these two are Jarome Iginla with 17 goals for 44 points, Reilly Smith with 18 goals for 44 points, Milan Lucic with 18 goals for 43 points, and Patrice Bergeron with 18 goals for 39 points. The Bruins are known for their physical style of play and Milan Lucic has 175 hits to cement that concept. There are four other players with over 100 hits: Zdeno Chara with 123, Iginla with 109, Johnny Boychuck with 108, and Matt Bartkowski with 102. Boychuck is also the sacrificial lamb with 108 blocked shots compared to the 79 of Chara.
The Rangers posted wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks in the last two months. Additionally, Lundqvist led team Sweden past Rask’s team Finland in the Olympics. This should be a tight matchup and great game against two really strong teams. The Rangers have to stay out of the box and try to get the Bruins in the box as much as possible during this game. This means keeping a leash on Carcillo. The last time these teams met, Justin Falk was still in the line-up and we saw Brian Boyle drop mitts with Chara. Anything is possible between these “Original 6″ teams tonight as the playoff race heats up.