Need to Know: Boston Bruins at New York Rangers

(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge

After having two consecutive games against the Buffalo Sabres being postponed due to the Sabres being in COVID Protocols, the Boston Bruins are back in action at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.

The Bruins enter Wednesday night’s game on a three-game winning streak, having earned points in eight straight contests. The Bruins are playing arguably their best hockey of the shortened season, having earned two big wins over the Philadelphia Flyers and a three-goal comeback victory over the Washington Capitals.

The New York Rangers are entering this matchup with a 4-5-2 record and are still looking to find their groove. A clearly very talented group on paper, the Rangers are battling some inconsistency issues on the ice as they are a very young team. Coming off a 2-0 shutout loss to their state rival New York Islanders, the Rangers will be looking to get back in the win column against the Bruins.

Injury wise, the Bruins are getting two key pieces back Wednesday barring any setbacks as Matt Grzelyck and Jake Debrusk have returned to practice. Jack Studnicka also returned to practice on Monday but was in a no-contact jersey. There is still no word on Ondrej Kase as he battles his upper-body injury. Filip Chytil, who was arguably one of the Rangers’ best forwards early on, remains on the injured reserve list. Jack Johnson and Brendan Smith were both out for their matchup Monday against the Islanders, and their status for Wednesday’s game is unknown.

This matchup has significant implications as the Bruins look to stay atop the MassMutual East Division, and the Rangers don’t want to fall too far behind early. This is a tough division that will be hard to come back in. Some key players to keep an eye on are David Pastrnak and Alexis Lafreniere. Since Pastrnak has come back from injuries, the Bruins offense has been a completely different animal. Pastrnak has five goals and three assists in his short four-game season so far. Lafreniere has been off to a slow start, but there is no denying that the NHL’s first overall selection in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft has talent. He has one goal in his short 11 game career, and I look for him to be a difference-maker as he gets more comfortable at the NHL level.

Tuukka Rask is expected to start for the Boston Bruins. While there is no word on the Rangers starting goaltender, Igor Shesterkin is coming off a solid performance against the Islanders. The Bruins have won the last four matchups against the Rangers and will look to make it five Wednesday when the puck drops at 7 pm EST on NBCSN. Buckle up; these two teams have a history with each other and always put on a show.

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