On Thursday, March 2, at 7pm ET, the Boston Bruins (33-24-6) host the New York Rangers (40-21-2).
Need to Know: New York
The Rangers have lost their past two games, both against top divisional opponents Columbus and Washington. They visit Boston, then return home to play Montreal. They are in the middle of a tough stretch of games, and are in need of wins if they want to hold onto a divisional spot. Before yesterday’s trade deadline, the Rangers looked to add depth on the blue line and replace injured defenseman Dan Girardi. They acquired Defenseman Brendan Smith from Detroit. This season, the Rangers have come out victorious against the Bruins twice with a score of 5-2 both times. But, it is no secret, this is a different Bruins team than in those previous two games. New York does have depth in scoring with eight players who have ten or more goals. Their offense is led by Michael Grabner who has 26 goals and local BC alumn Chris Kreider with 23. Lundqvist, who is the Rangers number one goalie and heavily relied upon, is 24-12-2 against the Bruins all time.
The Rangers come into this game still holding the first wild card spot. They are two points behind Pittsburgh who sit third in the Metro with a game in hand. While there is a big gap between the first and second (Toronto) wild card spots, they are tightly battling for the divisional standings with Pittsburgh and Columbus. The Blue Jackets are in action tonight as well.
Need to Know: Boston
The Bruins come into this game still on an offensive surge and 7-1 under Cassidy. Through the past eight games, they have scored 33 goals, averaging 4.12 goals for per game. However, their latest win Tuesday night was a sloppy one to say the least. I think it can easily be seen as the worst played game under Cassidy thus far. Luckily, the Coyotes have their own problems and not the strongest season, so the Bs were able to turn around toward the second half of the game and get the two points. That will not be the case tonight. The Rangers are struggling as of late, but are still a very good team and the confident, happy hockey attitude of the Bruins is must tonight.
The Bruins have won four home games in a row for this first time since November 2014. This is the second of a three-game home stand. The Bruins are healthy and currently surging in the right direction. Tuukka Rask earned his 30th win of the season on Tuesday for the fourth straight season. Patrice Bergeron enters tonight with 21 points in the last 14 games and Brad Marchand has 23 points over those 14 games as well. Before yesterday’s trade deadline, the Bruins acquired forward Drew Stafford from the Winnipeg Jets. He seems to be a fit on the wing for the third line. But, he will not be in the line up yet and is traveling to Boston today.
The Bruins enter tonight sitting third in the Division. They are tied with Ottawa in points, but the Sens have two less games played. They are three points up on Toronto, but the Leafs do have one game in hand. Both Ottawa and Toronto are in action tonight as well.
Marchand — Bergeron — Backes
Cehlarik — Krejci — Pastrnak
Vatrano — Spooner — Hayes
Beleskey — Moore — Nash
Chara — Carlo
Krug — McQuaid
K. Miller — C. Miller