Greatness is something everyone in this sport strives for. The teams rebuilding want to get pieces that will make them great. Teams at the top of the standings are seeking a chance to fight for hockey’s Holy Grail, and the teams between them are all fighting to make it to that dance. For the Rangers, they will welcome in the class of the NHL this season in the 35-5-4 Boston Bruins. That is not a typo, the Bruins have only missed out on 14 points this season.
If the New York Rangers are going to win this game, they will need help and they should get that with the return of Chris Kreider to the Blueshirts lineup. It has been confirmed that the Massachusetts native will return against his hometown team after missing three games with an injury. He’ll slot into the lineup at the expense of Sammy Blais and it’ll give the Rangers a little bit more punch up front.
This does mean that Jake Leschyshyn will keep his place in the lineup. He’s played two games since being claimed on waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights and has proven he can play the role that Gerard Gallant and his coaching staff would like this team to play. If that fourth line can become a little more of a factor in a close-fought game like this one, it could be the thing the Rangers need to beat the Bruins.
Igor Shesterkin gets the nod from the coaching staff. With the reigning Vezina Trophy winner set to oppose the Vezina favorite for the new season, this has the hallmark of a goalie duel. Of course, Linus Ullmark will not play for Boston so it will be Jeremy Swayman that opposes the Russian netminder. Both of these netminders are capable of stealing games and Igor is going to go up against a murderer’s row of a forward core. Shesty will need to be at his absolute best tonight if the Rangers are going to have any shot in this one.
Boston is coming into this game on the second half of a back-to-back after putting the Islanders to the sword last night as the Bruins showed they are still a terrifying team to try and take down. For anyone local, it might feel like it takes 2 years to get from Brooklyn to the Garden, but this does not count as a back-to-back with travel.
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Craig Smith
Pavel Zacha – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – Charlie Coyle – Trent Frederic
Nick Foligno – Joona Koppanen – A.J. Greer
Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm — Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort — Connor Clifton
New York Rangers
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Kaapo Kakko
Artemi Panarin — Vincent Trocheck – Vitali Kravtsov
Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Barclay Goodrow
Jimmy Vesey – Jake Leschyshyn – Jonny Brodzinski
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Jacob Trouba
Ben Harpur – Braden Schneider
Puck drop time and where to watch
For this 7 PM Eastern puck drop at the Garden, there is a lot to take note of. It’s going to be shown across the Sportsnet channels for fans north of the border that want to watch. MSG and NESN will have the respective feeds of each team with Sam and Joe being there for you on the MSG feed. This is a game that the Rangers will get to test themselves in. It does not get better than this in the NHL this season.