The Boston Bruins (11-5-2, 24 pts, .667 P %) will try to bounce back from their worst two losses in recent memory and avenge a 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers (7-8-3, 15 pts, .472 P %) on Friday when they play the Blueshirts again at Madison Square Garden today (Noon ET, NBC, SN1).
The Boston Bruins swept an earlier two-game set with the Rangers on Feb. 10 (3-2 OTW) and Feb. 12 (1-0) and are now 2-1-0 against their Original 6 rivals. Since those games though, the Bruins have hit their first slump of the 2021 season going 1-4-0 and getting outscored 13-4 in their last two games against the Rangers on Friday and 7-2 to the New York Islanders on Thursday. Since the end of the game Friday, the team has made it clear they’ve had enough and intend to turn things around ASAP.
“It’s not acceptable to continue to play like this and we’re gonna work our way out of it,” veteran winger Brad Marchand told the media Saturday. “It may not be pretty but we’re going to work our way out of it. We’re going to be a good team, there’s no question about that.”
Tuukka Rask (7-3-1, 2.86 GAA, .892 save percentage) is expected to be back between the pipes for the Boston Bruins and the Rangers will stay with Alex Georgiev (3-2-2, 2.81 GAA, .901 save percentage), who made 31 saves for the win on Friday.
– Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body) has been skating and expected to return to the lineup today but Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed Saturday that Grzelcyk will not suit up today. Grzelcyk hasn’t played since the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime win against the Rangers on Feb. 10 and has now missed 12 games this season.
Defenseman Jeremy Lauzon (broken hand) is out for four weeks. Defenseman Kevan Miller (maintenance) and center David Krejci (lower-body) are day-to-day. Forward Ondrej Kase (upper-body) is on injured reserve.
– Rask is off to the second-worst start through eleven games this season.
thru 11 games last 12 years
2021 – 2nd worst GAA (2.86)
2021 – Tied worst SV% (.892)
Let’s hope this improves as the season progresses pic.twitter.com/UKhcUAAwu9
— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) February 27, 2021
– The Bruins went 0-for-3 on the powerplay in the loss to the Rangers Friday and are now 15-for-55 on the man advantage this season. They’re seventh in the NHL with a 27.3 percent success rate.
-The Boston Bruins penalty killed off three of the four Rangers’ powerplays Friday. The Bruins have now killed off 55 of 63 powerplay attempts against them. Their 87.3 percent success rate is fourth in the NHL.
– Former Boston College star and Boxford, MA native Chris Kreider stayed hot Friday as he scored his ninth goal of the season and added an assist. Kreider has five goals in his last three games. Kreider leads the team in goals.
-Prior to the game Friday, we told you to keep an eye on former Harvard defenseman Adam Fox. Well, all Fox did was go out and help set up two goals and continue to show he’s one of the best young defensemen in the NHL. Fox now has a goal and nine assists in 18 games.
– The Rangers remain without their best player Artemi Panarin, who is on a leave of absence after allegations in Russia that he assaulted a woman in a bar in 2011. Panarin, who is a staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, vehemently denied the allegations claiming that it was a ‘political hit job’ by Putin loyalists led by former NHLer Andrei Nazarov. Panarin is on an indefinite leave of absence.
The Rangers are also without forward Kaapo Kakko, who is on the COVID Protocol list, and defenseman Jacob Trouba who is on injured reserve with a broken thumb.
-The Rangers powerplay has struggled this season and is ranked 27th in the NHL with a 15.5 percent success rate.
– The Rangers are ranked 7th in the NHL on the penalty kill with an 85.1 percent success rate.
Boston Bruins Lines
Note: These were the lines at practice Saturday as it appears head coach Bruce Cassidy may shake things up.
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Trent Frederic – Jack Studnicka – Jake DeBrusk
Sean Kuraly – Greg McKegg – Karson Kuhlman
Urho Vaakanainen – Charlie McAvoy
Jakub Zboril – Brandon Carlo
John Moore or Steven Kampfer – Connor Clifton
New York Rangers Lines
Alexis Lafreniere — Mika Zibanejad — Pavel Buchnevich
Chris Kreider — Ryan Strome — Colin Blackwell
Brendan Lemieux — Brett Howden — Julien Gauthier
Phil Di Giuseppe — Kevin Rooney — Jonny Brodsinski
Ryan Lindgren — Adam Fox
Jack Johnson — Brendan Smith
Anthony Bitetto — Libor Hajek