Here’s your Boston Hockey Now Boston Bruins Game Day Preview:
Boston Bruins (47-25-5, 99 pts) vs New York Rangers (51-26-6, 108 pts)
TIME: 3:00 PM ET
TV: ABC, ESPN+
The Boston Bruins will try to snap out of the April funk they’ve been in when they host the New York Rangers in the first game of a back-to-back Original 6 set that has them headed to Montreal Sunday. That game Sunday will be an emotionally-fueled atmosphere as the Canadiens play their first game in the Bell Centre since Habs legend and hall of famer Guy Lafleur passed away on Friday morning.
First the Boston Bruins must find their game against another and very good Original 6 rival in the New York Rangers. Part of their 5-5 record in their last ten games and 5-6 April record surely can be attributed to the absence of Hampus Lindholm (eight games), David Pastrnak (nine games) and Linus Ullmark (three games and two periods), but there’s no doubt that the Bruins appear to have hit a physical and mental wall.
While the Boston Bruins have been struggling, the Rangers have been rolling. The Rangers are knotted atop the Metro Division with the Carolina Hurricanes at 108 points each, and come into this tilt with the Bruins on a four-game win streak. Prior to their 6-3 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday, the Rangers blanked their opponents in three straight games.
Entering game action today, the Bruins would play the Hurricanes to start the playoffs, but that could easily change if the Rangers win today and the Bruins could be headed to the Big Apple to open the first round at Madison Square Garden. A loss could also pave the way for the Washington Capitals – who are currently tied with the Bruins in points – to slide into sole possession of the top Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Will a jam-packed matinee game against the Rangers at TD Garden, with crucial points in playoff seeding on the line can jumpstart their game? Could this be an audition for the first round as well?
Betting: The Bruins enter today’s game with a 10-2-0 record in matinees this season, but as mentioned above, there’s just something missing right now for the Black and Gold and with the Rangers rolling and poised to win the Metro, one could understand betting on the Rangers MONEY LINE as +120 underdogs. The Rangers are also 2-0-0 against the Bruins this season.
However, if there’s one thing this Bruins squad has done all season, it’s bounce back from ugly losses with a strong effort. So while the feel here is that the Rangers still may get the two points in the end, taking the Bruins on the first period PUCK LINE (-.5) at +150 is a solid best. Expect a strong start from Cassidy’s bunch today.
We’re also gonna sprinkle on the DRAW at +280 this games goes past 60 minutes.
Prediction: Rangers 3 Bruins 2 (OT)
Boston Bruins Notes
-Brad Marchand is mired in one of the worst slumps in recent memory with no goals in his last ten games and just two assists during that stretch.
-Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron is also struggling as of late with just two goals and two assists in his last ten games.
New York Rangers Notes
-Former Boston College star Chris Kreider is having a borderline Hart Trophy-worthy season for the Rangers. Kreider is ranked third in the NHL in goals with 51 and leads the league in powerplay tallies with 26 lamplighters on the man-advantage.
-Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin is 36-11-4 and is first in the NHL in goals-against average with a 2.01 GAA and first in save percentage at .936%. He’s also third in shutouts with six.
Boston Bruins Lineup:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron– Jake DeBrusk
Taylor Hall – Erik Haula – David Pastrnak
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Nick Foligno – Tomáš Nosek – Curtis Lazar
Hampus Lindholm – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Connor Clifton
New York Rangers Lineup:
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Frank Vatrano
Artemi Panarin – Ryan Strome – Dryden Hunt
Alexis Lafreniere – Barclay Goodrow – Jonny Brodzinski
Greg McKegg – Kevin Rooney – Ryan Reaves
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Jacob Trouba
Justin Braun – Braden Schneider
*Not confirmed yet