Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Rangers
The Boston Bruins are coming off a statement victory against Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning where Claude Julien’s team clawed their way back twice for a 4-3 victory Tuesday night. David Pastrnak scored two more goals while the penalty kill was a perfect 5-for-5 limiting the Bolts potent offense on the man advantage.
Now, the Black and Gold will turn their attention to the red-hot New York Rangers. The Blueshirts sit in a tie with the Bruins in the standings, but have four games in hand.
The Rangers own an 8-2-0 record in their last 10 games. Playing on the road hasn’t fazed them either as they sport an 11-6-1 away from Madison Square Garden.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season. The B’s swept the season series last year beating the Blueshirts all three times.
Look for Rangers Center Derek Stepan to miss tonight’s game with an upper body injury he sustained in Tuesday’s game against the Islanders. Also, Cam Talbot will make only his second start in the past 10 games as Henrik Lundqvist gets the night off.
Here is your complete Bruins-Rangers Preview:
Looking to see Bruins-Rangers in person tonight? Good seats are still available on TicketMonster
Gametime: 7:00 PM
Records: Bruins 23-15-6 (52 points)/Rangers 24-12-4 (52 points)
TV/Radio: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Location: TD Garden
Bruins’ projected lines:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Craig Cunningham
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg-Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Rangers’ projected lines:
Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider-J.T. Miller-Martin St. Louis
Carl Hagelin-Dominic Moore-Lee Stempniak
Tanner Glass-Kevin Hayes-Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Dan Boyle
Kevin Klein-John Moore
Who to watch for Bruins: David Pastrnak
It’s David Pastrnak’s world right now and everyone else is just living in it. The 18 year-old has given the Black and Gold a jolt scoring four goals in his last two games.
Not only is he scoring goals, but he is working well along the boards, taking pucks to the net, and getting back on defense – all aspects of the game that head coach Claude Julien likes.
On Boston.com: Pastrnak providing B’s with much-needed spark
Pastrnak had a team high seven shots on net against the Lightning on Tuesday night resulting in his two goals. In his last two games to go along with his four goals, the Czech winger has a plus-5 rating, nine shots on net and has earned over 16 minutes of total ice time.
General Manager Peter Chiarelli and the entire Bruins organization have a tough decision to make after Thursday’s game. Pastrnak’s 10 games with the big club are up. The talented winger will need to pack his bags for Providence or stay with the team nixing the first year of his rookie contract. It seems like a no-brainer for No. 88 to remain on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
Who to watch for Rangers: Rick Nash
The Black and Gold will need to contain another star on Thursday night as Rick Nash will grace TD Garden with his presence.
Nash has been on a tear lately. Over his last five games, the left-winger has three goals and two assists to go along with a plus-1 rating. If it wasn’t for his bad performance against the Islanders Tuesday night, his numbers could be better. Nash had zero points and a minus-2 rating.
In his career against the B’s, Nash has pedestrian numbers for a guy of his stature. In 15 games played, he has only lit the lamp three times while totaling eight points to go along with a minus-6 rating.
This season, Nash leads the NHL in goals with 26 and ranks 14th in total points with 41 on the year. Zdeno Chara and company will have their hands full yet again, but they are always up for the challenge.
Game Day Edge: Take advantage of no Henrik Lundqvist
It is no secret that “King Henrik” is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. He led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final last season. With Lundqvist getting some rest tonight, the Black and Gold must take advantage.
Cam Talbot owns a 4-3-1 record winning his last two starts, but is not even on the same planet as Lundqvist. The B’s must test him early and often. They need to stick to the formula of taking pucks to the net, establishing net front presence and making Talbot uncomfortable.
Talbot is 2-3-0 away from Madison Square Garden this season allowing over three goals per contest.
The Bruins are starting to find their groove again scoring the puck-lighting the lamp three or more times in each of their last four games.
With Lundqvist out, the B’s should continue their winning streak and their climb up in the Eastern Conference standings.