The Boston Bruins (27-16-3, 57 pts) begin a two-game stint in the New York Metro area Tuesday night when they take on the New York Rangers (30-13-4, 64 pts) at Madison Square Garden (7:05 PM ET, NESN, MSG).
The Boston Bruins avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season with a solid 2-0 bounce-back win over the Ottawa Senators Saturday and will now look to gain ground on the Rangers in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Bruins currently hold the final spot in the East and trail the sixth-seeded Rangers by seven points.
The Rangers will be playing their first game back from their All-Star break and bye and since Feb. 1. Could the Bruins capitalize on a rusty Rangers team early? If the Bruins are to do that and want to pull within five points of the Rangers, they will need to have a better performance, and more specifically a better third period than they did in their last games against the Blueshirts. With both teams knotted at two heading into the third period back on Black Friday (Nov. 26), the Bruins fell apart and allowed three unanswered goals en route to a 5-2 loss to the Rangers. The Boston Bruins will need a 60-minute effort against a more-talented team with the Bruins missing captain Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
Jeremy Swayman will get the start again for the Boston Bruins after a 30-save shutout against the Senators Saturday. Swayman is 9-7-2 with a 2.22 GAA and .919 save percentage.
Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin is expected to get the start for the home team tonight. Shesterkin is a bonafide Vezina Trophy candidate with a 22-5-2 record and 2.10 GAA and .937 save percentage.
Per our friends at BetUS, the OVER is 9-0 in the Bruins’ last nine games against a team with a winning record.
That’s why our BetUs plays for the game here are the OVER 1.5 (-115) in the first period and the OVER 5.5 (-120) in the game.
Prediction: Rangers 4 Bruins 3 (SO)
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Boston Bruins Notes
-Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was so impressed with the makeshift second line of Trent Frederic-Charlie Coyle-Craig Smith that he will keep it together tonight. The big and rugged trio combined for the first goal of the game 45 ticks into regulation and was banging on the forecheck throughout the game.
-Cassidy will make some changes on the blue line though as he has switched Matt Grzelcyk and Mike Reilly on the left side of the top two pairings.
–Patrice Bergeron Brad Marchand will remain out of the lineup for the Boston Bruins. Bergeron (head), has been practicing with the Bruins but did not make the trip to New York City and will not play against the Rangers. Bergeron is expected to meet the team on Long Island on Wednesday and could face the Islanders Thursday. Marchand will serve the third game of his suspension as he awaits word on his appeal of the six-game suspension he received last week.
New York Rangers Notes
-Former Boston College star Chris Kreider still leads the Rangers in goals with 33 and is tied for the league lead with Leon Draisaitl.
-Artemi Panarin leads the team in points (13g, 39a) with 52 and former Harvard star defenseman leads the team in assists with 40 helpers. Fox will be playing his first game since Jan. 27.
Boston Bruins Lines:
Taylor Hall – Erik Haula – David Pastrnak
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Jake DeBrusk – Jack Studnicka – Nick Foligno
Anton Blidh-Tomas Nosek-Curtis Lazar
Mike Reilly – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Connor Clifton
New York Rangers Lines:
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Alexs Lafriniere
Artemi Panarin – Ryan Strome – Barclay Goodrow
Dryden Hunt – Filip Chytil – Julien Gauthier
Greg McKegg – Kevin Rooney – Ryan Reaves
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Jacob Trouba
Patrik Nemeth – Braden Schneider