Pregame Notes: Bruins vs. Rangers – 02/12/21

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Zach Carlone | Follow me on Twitter @zcarlone21

Another exciting win from Wednesday night has led the Bruins to an outstanding 9-1-2 record just twelve games into the season. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask stood on his head, making 33 saves on 35 shots from the New York Rangers en route to yet again another overtime win. The two face off again tonight after being familiarized with one another on Wednesday. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm EST.

Scoreless Streaks

Bruins forward Brad Marchand and Rangers forward Artemi Panarin both lead their respective clubs in goals and are continuously acting as driving factors for each team’s offense. However, two other top-six forwards, Bruins center David Krejci and Rangers center Mika Zibanejad, have merely combined for one goal all season, and are looking to crack the scoresheet.

Krejci hasn’t scored yet this season but has racked up nine assists in twelve games. The Bruins are used to Krejci’s great play-making ability and have been ever since he became an asset for their offense. Zibanejad scored a goal back on January 19th but has not scored since. We saw a very defense-heavy game for the first two periods of Wednesday’s night game, but for centers of Krejci’s and Zibanejad’s caliber, they should be tallying more on the stat sheet no matter what.

Beating the Goaltending

There was a defensively-gifted battle on Wednesday night, a 3-2 overtime win for the Bruins, with Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and Rangers goaltender Alexander Georgiev both playing strong games. Rask made some saves that need a double look because of how spectacular they were, and he gave us a good laugh as well with a little under a minute to play.

Bruins backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak is expected to draw the start tonight after a heavy workload from Rask on Wednesday. Halak is 3-0-1 this season and has been nothing short of a great compliment to Rask. Both the Bruins and Rangers have stable goaltending, and it’s going to take a huge effort to get the puck in the back of the net on either Halak or whoever is in net for the Rangers. New York goaltender Igor Shesterkin is slated to start.

Young Defensemen Shining

Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, 24, and Rangers defenseman Adam Fox, 22, have been their respective club’s best defenders thus far this season. McAvoy has seen an increased role and has thrived with it, as has Fox. Both defensemen are also leading a group of defensemen relatively young in age. In any case, however, both have been magnificent this season.

McAvoy has now collected 11 points in twelve games, riding an eight-game point streak, and Fox has seven points in twelve games. On Wednesday night, we saw a lot of physical and talent-loaded play from both defenders, and tonight’s game should include more of the same. Both young defenses as a whole played well on Wednesday night, and tonight’s the second consecutive time they’ll see one another.

Bruins Projected Lineup

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Ritchie – Krejci – Smith

DeBrusk – Coyle – Bjork

Frederic – Kuraly – Wagner

Lauzon – McAvoy

Clifton – Carlo

Zboril – Miller

Halak

Rask

Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk exited Wednesday night’s game with a lower-body injury, and head coach Bruce Cassidy said he will be out tonight, with right-handed defenseman Connor Clifton coming back in. Defenseman Kevan Miller didn’t practice with the team on Thursday either, but Cassidy said it was maintenance-related, and he will be playing tonight. Halak makes his fifth start of the season.

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