The Boston Bruins (8-1-2, 18 pts) and the New York Rangers (4-5-2, 10 pts) try to renew their rivalry tonight at Madison Square Garden as they begin a two-game set there and play the first of eight meetings this season.
The Boston Bruins are riding a three-game win streak and have erased third period deficits in their last four games, earning a point in each one. Meanwhile, the Rangers, whom many expected to take a step forward this season have stumbled out of the gate and sit last in the East Division.
Tuukka Rask (5-1-1, 2.36 GAA, .898 save percentage) will get his third straight start for the Bruins.
Alexander Georgiev (1-2-1, 3.27 GAA, .886 save percentage) returns to the Rangers’ net for the first time in three games and since he and soon to be, former teammate Tony DeAngelo got into a postgame altercation.
– Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body) and forward Jake DeBrusk (lower-body) will return to the lineup tonight. Grzelcyk missed games on Jan. 23 and 26 with lower and upper-body injuries, came back and played on Jan. 28 and suffered another lower body injury and then missed the last four games. DeBrusk suffered his lower-body injury on Jan. 26 and missed the last five games.
Jack Studnicka (undisclosed) skated in a contact jersey Tuesday at practice but did not go to New York with the Bruins. Studnicka and Ondrej Kase (upper-body), who has been working out and is getting closer to skating, remain on injured reserve.
– The Bruins went 0-for-2 on the powerplay in their 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday but they still woke up yesterday with the sixth-best powerplay in the NHL, scoring at a 33.3 percent clip. That’s why it was a bit surprising to see head coach Bruce Cassidy change things up at practice Tuesday and have five forwards on the top PP unit. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, David Krejci, and Nick Ritchie manned the first powerplay. Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith were on the second unit.
-The Boston Bruins have been even better on the penalty kill. The B’s have only allowed five goals against 41 powerplay attempts. Their 87.8 success rate is the second-best in the NHL.
– ‘The Perfection Line’ has once again established itself as arguably the best line in the NHL. Brad Marchand (7g, 8a) and Patrice Bergeron (6g, 9a) are tied for the team lead in points with 15 apiece. Marchand’s seven lamplighters are a team-best and Bergeron’s nine helpers lead the team as well. After missing the first seven games, winger David Pastrnak has returned on a mission, with five goals and three assists in four games, including his ninth career hat trick.
– Not to rain the offensive parade for the Boston Bruins’ top trio of forwards but it is worth noting that 19 (8g, 11a) of their 28 points together have come on the powerplay. Marchand has two goals and five assists on the man advantage; Bergeron has four goals and five assists and Pastrnak has lit the lamp twice on the powerplay and added a helper.
– Six of the Bruins’ first eleven games have gone to overtime and two have gone to the shootout. The Bruins are 4-2 in the extra frames, going 2-0 in the shootout.
– The New York Rangers are also mulling changes on their powerplay. Per Larry Brooks of the New York Post:
The Rangers are 1-for-10 in 17:07 with the man-advantage in the past three games and 2-for-23 in 39:51 over the past seven contests.
The Rangers are 6-for-44 on the man advantage this season with a dismal 13.6 success rate. The Rangers’ powerplay is ranked 25th in the NHL.
– The Rangers are ranked 12th in the league on the penalty kill. They’ve allowed seven powerplay goals against 39 attempts and have an 82.1 success rate.
– Rangers defensemen Jack Johnson (groin) and Brendan Smith (upper-body), are both day-to-day. Forward Colin Blackwell is also day-to-day with an upper-body injury and forward Filip Chytil (upper-body) is on injured reserve and is week-to-week.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Jake DeBrusk – Charlie Coyle – Anders Bjork
Trent Frederic – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy
Connor Clifton – Brandon Carlo
Jakub Zboril – Kevan Miller
New York Rangers Lines
Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Pavel Buchnevich
Artemi Panarin — Ryan Strome — Kaapo Kakko
Alexis Lafreniere — Brett Howden — Phil Di Giuseppe
Brendan Lemieux — Kevin Rooney — Julien Gauthier
Ryan Lindgren — Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller — Jacob Trouba
Libor Hajek — Anthony Bitetto