PHOTO CREDITS: (Bruce Bennett)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

A quick one day break and the Bruins are right back at it for a battle with the New York Rangers. After losing 4-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night, the Bruins came right back on Thursday with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. The Bruins are in the middle of an extremely close Eastern Conference playoff race. Boston holds the third Atlantic division position by the skin of their teeth, with a one-point lead on the Canadiens.

The ageing New York Rangers are at the .500 mark so far this season, boasting a record of 20-20-7, good for 47 points on the year. The Rangers have won their last two games, including a 6-2 win over the Hurricanes and a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night. The Rangers are the 11th best team in the Eastern Conference, eleven points behind a playoff spot.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 14-8-3 2.42 GAA .920 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 5-2 win vs STL

NYR: Henrik Lundqvist (Likely) 14-12-7 3.04 GAA .908 SV% Last Game: 24 Saves in 4-3 win vs CHI

Who’s Hot

David Krejci has been on fire for the Bruins as of late and it is coming at a time where the Bruins need it most. The 32-year-old Krejci has seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in the last five games including a three-assist night in the win over the St. Louis Blues. David Krejci is now tied with Patrice Bergeron for the third-most points on the team with 10-30-40 totals in 48 games.

Mika Zibanejad has taken the reigns of top scorer on the Rangers and in his last five games, the Swedish forward has been on fire. Such as Krejci, Zibanejad has seven points in his last five games, including an impressive two goal, two assist night against the Hurricanes on January 15th. The 25-year-old is a minus rating on the entire season but has a +5 rating in those five games. He now has 15-27-42 numbers 47 games.

Torey Krug has continued firing at a solid pace this season. Following his two assists against the Flyers, Krug scored this goal against the Blues, giving him twenty points in his last twenty games. Krug has shown his puck handling and stick-handling at a top level, making a possible trade hard to conceive. His thirty-two points in thirty-seven games put him as the 13th best defenceman in the NHL when it comes to point production.

Over the years, forward Chris Kreider has been at the centre of Rangers trade rumours at the franchise looks to “rebuild” their organization, but he has continued to produce for the team, making a trade hard for management to want to make. Kreider has five points in his last three games with two consecutive games with two points. The 6-foot-3 Boxford, Massachusetts native has 22-15-37 totals in 47 games this year.

Who’s Not

Brett Howden was the 27th Overall Pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, but he has not been great this season. The 6-foot-3 centre has only four goals in 2018-19 and has failed to put the puck in the back of the net in his last twenty-nine games, dating back to November 12th, 2018. Howden has the second-worst plus/minus rating among Rangers players with a -12 rating, behind only Mats Zuccarello (-15).

Quite frankly, the Bruins have not been terrible in the past few games and I wouldn’t go ahead to say that anyone is “cold”. Some players on the current roster may be capable of producing at a higher level, but they are still producing nonetheless. If there is one thing that is not certain, is the bottom-six. It seems like the like of DeBrusk-Krejci-Cehlarik will remain intact, but questions regarding the third-line may need some answers still.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is two goals away from 200 career goals
  • G Tuukka Rask is one win away (252) from passing Tiny Thompson (252) for most wins in Bruins history
  • G Tuukka Rask can also pass Frank Brimsek for sole possession of 52nd-most wins in NHL history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (23) from tying Derek Sanderson (24) for second-most SHG in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away (47) from passing Ken Hodge (47) for sole-possession of 7th most GWG in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one game-winning goal away (60) from passing Ray Bourque (60) for 3rd most GWG in Bruins history

PHOTO CREDITS: (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

New York Rangers:

  • G Henrik Lundqvist is one win away (445) from passing Terry Sawchuk (445) for sole possession of sixth-most wins in NHL history

Bruins vs Rangers Outlook

This is the first of three meetings between the Rangers and the Bruins this season, with the next one coming in only two-and-a-half weeks time on February 6th. The two teams will be looking to add another win in the storied chapter between these historic franchises.

The speciality teams will be an interesting factor to this game. The Bruins have the second-most efficient power-play percentage (28.1%) while the Rangers have a 20.3% success rate with the extra man, the 14th highest in the league. On the flip side, the Rangers have the fifth-worst penalty-kill percentage in the NHL, at 76.3%. Boston has the 13th-best penalty-kill, killing of 81% of the penalties they face.

Boston should be able to score a lot on the Rangers, who have allowed the fifth-worst goals-per-game in the entire league. New York needs to play solid defence to try and get their goaltender Lundqvist that historic 446th career win against another Original Six team like the Bruins.

Here are the morning rushes for the Bruins ahead of tonight’s game at the TD Garden. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced that D Matt Grzelcyk and F Noel Acciari are back in the lineup while D John Moore and F Ryan Donato are the scratches for Boston.

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