March 21st, 2010 by

Pregame notes, Bruins vs. Rangers: Two crucial points

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To say this game is a big one for each team would be an utter understatement. The Boston Bruins  host the New York Rangers in NBCs Game of the Week, live from the TD Garden in Boston, MA at 12:30 p.m. EST. Now that the Matt Cooke/Penguins drama is now over and done with — or so we hope — the Bruins can now move on and focus on winning: starting today.

The Rangers have owned the Bruins in all three meetings this season, holding a perfect 3-0-0 record. Yet Boston holds the history side of it, and with their luck this season, they’ll take all they can get. The Black-and-Gold hold a 281-235-97-6 overall record against New York in their 619 lifetime meetings, along with a 1,959-1,807 scoring edge.

Both the B’s and Rangers are just 2-3-0 in their last five games, and fighting for every possible point. “King” Henrik Lundqvist was between the pipes for the Blueshirts over their last five — and 62 of their 71 games played on the season — allowing 14 goals-against for an uncharacteristic 8.79 save-percentage. I betcha he plays in game  63 today.

As for the Bruins’ roller-coaster-like season, their lack of goals and inconsistency on offense is the first thing to point-out. Although last in the league in goals-for per game, the Bruins averaged 3.40 in their five games prior to Thursday night’s 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins — all without Marc Savard. However, despite lighting the lamp 15 times, the B’s are just 1-16 on the power play over their last six games without their No. 1 center.

“We’ve got 12 games to get some consistency.” said head coach Claude Julien to the media after yesterday’s practice. ” And night-after-night battle like you’re battling for your life, and that’s what we’ve got to show.

“The power play has probably been a little inconsistent like the rest of our team has this year. And that’s got to get better.”

After 70 games, ya think?!

Also during Saturday’s practice, everyone but Dennis Seidenberg participated , as the No. 2 blue-liner was the latest victim to come down with flu-like-symptoms that has floated around the B’s locker room as of late.

Unofficially promoted No. 1 net-minder, Tuukka Rask, would more than likely get the nod between the pipes today for the B’s, having played in their last five games, while starting in four of those. The 23-year-old goalie has posted an astounding  .935 save-percentage over his last five games, while allowing just nine goals on 138 shots.

Including this afternoon’s game, Boston has 12 games remaining: seven at home and five away. Of those 12, 11 are against Eastern Conference teams — Calgary being the lone Western Conference team — and seven against top-10 Conference rivals.

The Blueshirts have just been leapfrogged in the standings by the ninth-place Atlanta Thrashers – now winners in three straight — with a 5-2 victory over the slipping fifth-seed Philadelphia Flyers last night. (for more Thrashers news, check out my good friend Phil over at Examiner.com)


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