Preview: Rangers at Bruins
The Boston Bruins have regained their footing following a wobbly one-week stretch earlier this month and have built a 10-point lead atop the Atlantic Division. The Bruins vie for their sixth consecutive victory overall and look to remain unbeaten in regulation at TD Garden when they open a five-game homestand Friday afternoon against the New York Rangers.
Boston, which has points in nine straight overall (6-0-3) and all 13 at home (9-0-4), rallied for a 2-1 victory over Ottawa on Wednesday one night after steamrolling Montreal 8-1. “We’ve played good hockey," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "You want your team playing a good sample size into the second part of the year to know where you’re really at. But we do have some really good players and that goes a long way toward winning hockey games.” The Rangers were blitzed by the Bruins 7-4 on Oct. 27 at Madison Square Garden, but they are 9-4-1 since that thumping and will take a three-game winning streak into Friday's matchup. "It's a fun feeling when you win in different ways," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said after Wednesday's 3-2 victory over Carolina. "I thought the other night (versus Minnesota) it was more the skill that helped us. Tonight, I thought it was more the will."
TV: 1 p.m. ET, NBC
ABOUT THE RANGERS (12-9-2): Center Mika Zibanejad, hurt in last month's loss to the Bruins, returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing 13 games and scored less than three minutes into the game. "He just gives up so much more depth," coach David Quinn said. "It's amazing what one center can do to your whole lineup. Your lineup looks a lot longer and a lot deeper." Forward Artemi Panarin has been held off the scoresheet only once in the last 16 games and is on a tear with multiple points in nine of his last 11 contests.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (17-3-5): Reigning NHL No. 1 Star of the Week Brad Marchand, who has goals in four straight and 11 points in a five-game streak, had five points versus New York on Oct. 27. Charlie Coyle signed a six-year, $31.5 million contract and Chris Wagner a three-year deal worth $4.05 million. "Charlie came in and fit in very nicely with our club last year and now you're seeing the versatility with him as a player being able to to go up the lineup ... and Chris brings elements that we really respect," general manager Don Sweeney said.
1. Bruins G Tuukka Rask has won his last five starts but is 9-8-4 with a 2.33 goals-against average versus New York.
2. Lundqvist is 1-2-0 with 12 goals allowed in his last three against Boston.
3. Bruins F David Pastrnak had five assists in the last meeting and has seven goals in his last six overall.
PREDICTION: Bruins 4, Rangers 2