Photo credit: Yahoo Sports
By: Thomas Nystrom Follow Me On Twitter @nahstrom
Despite the New York Rangers season having fallen off the rails, there is no shortage of things to watch for in tonight’s match-up.
Tonight the Boston Bruins take on the Rangers at Madison Square Garden featuring the return of Brad Marchand. The embattled winger finished his suspension and will look to get right back into the unmistakably dominant flow that the first line had been on. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Marchand are arguably the best two-way line in hockey and prior to his suspension for an elbow to New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson, they were lighting up opponents at a record pace. It will be interesting to see the reaction from Ranger fans and players alike, perhaps trying to goad Marchand into making another costly mistake. The NHL offices will no doubt be watching #63 with a close eye tonight in New York.
A compelling dynamic to tonights rivalry game is the idea that the Rangers appear to be sellers at the upcoming trade deadline, and perhaps a number of players are auditioning for their potential future teams, Boston included. Names like defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and forwards Michael Grabner, Rick Nash, David Desharnais, and fan favorite Mats Zuccarello have been floated out there as potentially available. Zuccarello and McDonagh both have time past the end of this season left on their contracts and are signed through the end of next season.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in January that the Rangers are preparing to take calls regarding players up and down the roster, regardless of contract status.
One more interesting thing to know is that AHL affiliates of both organizations play one another the night before the February 26th deadline. Hartford Wolf Pack (NYR) head to Providence to take on the Bruins for a Sunday matinee at 3:05. Any indications of a potential deal between New York and Boston could possibly make itself apparent in that contest in the form of a healthy scratch for one or more Providence prospects. That will be something to monitor as the game approaches.
Boston Bruins (32-11-8) vs. New York Rangers (25-23-5)
Madison Square Garden
8:00 pm on NBCSN
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Ryan Spooner
Danton Heinen – Riley Nash – David Backes
Tim Schaller – Sean Kuraly – Austin Czarnik
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Adam McQuaid
Anton Khudobin getting the nod in goal.
New York Rangers
Rick Nash – Mika Zibanejad – Mats Zuccarello
JT Miller – David Desharnais – Jesper Fast
Michael Grabner – Kevin Hayes – Vinni Lettieri
Cody McLeod – Peter Holland – Paul Carey
Ryan McDonagh – Nick Holden
Brady Skjei – Steve Kampfer
Brendan Smith – Anthony DeAngelo
Henrik Lundqvist expected in net for the Rangers.
Thomas Nyström, Contributor.
Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom