The national spotlight turns to the New York Rangers as they take on the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden. It’s a key game for both teams in their push for the playoffs.You would expect the Bruins to find a mid-February game important for their playoff hopes. The fact is that they are engaged in a game-to-game struggle with the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division. You wouldn’t expect a mid-February game to have huge implications for the New York Rangers as they continue their accelerated rebuild. It’s three games in four days for the youthful Blueshirts and playing the Bruins at home could be more of a challenge than winning three games on the road. The B’s will be loaded for bear as they are only one point ahead of Tampa, the hottest team in the NHL. Boston had to win yesterday to stay ahead of the Lightning in the Atlantic Division race. Finally, as unlikely as it might have seemed, this could be a preview of a first round playoff match-up if the Rangers can sneak into the wild card and the Bruins can hold on to first place. Some lineup questions remained unanswered. Will Igor Shesterkin be back in net, if he is recovered from his ankle injury? Is Anthony DeAngelo ready to go? The Blueshirts returned Joey Keane to Hartford, but he was brought up as a precaution in case Marc Staal was unable to play in Columbus. If DeAngelo cannot go, it will be Brendan Smith replacing him. Early indications are that it will be Alexandar Georgiev in net as David Quinn continues to go with the hot hand. He has won his last two starts allowing four goals and stopping 59 of 63 shots, a .936 save percentage.
LATE INFOIt will be the same lineup as Friday night with Georgiev in goal and DeAngelo out. Another interesting factor will be how Chris Kreider plays. Boston has been long rumored as one of the likeliest potential destinations for him at the deadline. He hasn’t done well against his hometown team with only one goal in 20 games. This game could be a showcase for him while he is currently in the best stretch of his career. For the Bruins, since Tukka Rask was in net for them on Saturday, it should be back up Jaroslav Halak and that means trouble. Halak is 21-8-1 in 31 career starts against the Blueshirts.
New York Rangers
20 Kreider – 93 Zibanejad – 89 Buchnevich
10 Panarin – 16 Strome – 17 Fast
33 Di Giuseppe – 72 Chytil – 24 Kakko
48 Lemieux – 14 McKegg – 21 Howden
76 Skjei – 8 Trouba
55 Lindgren – 23 Fox
18 Staal – 77 DeAngelo (Smith)
40 Georgiev (Shesterkin)
63 Brad Marchand – 37 Patrice Bergeron – 88 David Pastrnak
74 Jake DeBrusk – 46 David Krejci – 83 Karson Kuhlman
10 Anders Bjork – 13 Charlie Coyle – 43 Danton Heinan
20 Joakim Nordstrom – 52 Sean Kuraly – 14 Chris Wagner
33 Zdeno Chara – 73 Charlie McAvoy
47 Torrey Krug – 25 Brandon Carlo
48 Matt Grzelcyk – 79 Jeremy Lauzon
40 Tukka Rask
41 Jaroslav Halak
About the game
The game is scheduled to start at 3:30pm and will be televised nationally on NBC. That means it could start a bit later after all of the pregame hoopla. It’s “Hockey Day in America” and NBC is airing an NHL tripleheader and the Blueshirts are the second game of the day. The radio call will be on ESPN radio 98.7 FM.
The live thread is open now!
Join your fellow Blueshirts fans and talk about the game on Blue Line Station’s live thread. . It’s a big match and the trade deadline is only a week away so there will be a lot to discuss.