The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers reignite an east coast rivalry tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers enjoyed a win over the Panthers the other night, in a 4-2 victory. Henrik Lundqvist was frozen in ice before then, losing his previous five starts. It isn’t the most familiar kind of trend we have seen Henrik produce. But he needed a win in the worst way possible, and he was able to get it the other night. The Rangers currently sit pretty with a record of 41-24-6 and appear to be ready to make another trip to the playoffs. Has the door closed on the Rangers, though?
They’ve had numerous chances the past several teams, with a team who looked better than they’re looking this season. It’s sort of a weird feeling, the Rangers are 41-24-6 but doesn’t it feel like they haven’t played that well? Or up to their potential I suppose I should say. Regular season success doesn’t carry too much weight in the NHL playoffs, so don’t discount the Rangers just yet. It’s not like we’re talking about a team who is just a few games above .500.
Rick Nash scored his first goal since coming back from injury. He holds a key to the playoffs for the Rangers, in my opinion. If he catches fire at the right time, then yes, the Rangers shouldn’t have to worry about anything. We’ll see if last night gets him going. He will have an opportunity to get on the scoresheet again tonight against the Bruins. A Nash and Staal duo is what the Rangers are aiming for. Eric Staal that is. The Rangers picked him at the trade deadline, but hasn’t made any sort of contribution to their cause thus far. They have experimented with plenty of lines, trying to find the right balance.
I’m sure when a groove is found, there shouldn’t be any issues. The Bruins have been one of the hotter and colder teams in the NHL this season. At one point, it looked like their season was in the toilet, and then they turned it around. Now they starting at what could be four straight losses against the Rangers. This will be their fourth game on the road after a 0-3 trip out west in California. We provide more thoughts on this matchup below.
Boston Bruins vs. N.Y. Rangers NHL Pick
The Bruins have reached 39-26-8 rather quietly. There is a sense that they haven’t played well enough to be 13 games above .500. So, the Bruins and Rangers have shared similar paths this season. Both, though, have enjoyed some success in the playoffs, albeit, the Rangers failing to earn a Stanley Cup in recent memory. There is playoff experience on both squads and should be dangerous for any team that runs into them. Neither defense has been particularly up to par this season, or at least, up to their standards. The Bruins are 19th while the Rangers are 15th in total team defense. Not the most ominous numbers, but they’re usually both staples in the top 5 defensive categories.
The Bruins have had to deal with some youth on the blue line and newcomers. Zdeno Chara is nearing the end of his career. The Bruins better figure it out after he gives the game up. But lately, it’s actually been the offense hitting a wall. Boston has potted only 3 goals over their last three games, 1 goal in their last two. In their last ten games, they’ve scored 2.10 goals per game. Their last two of three wins came in overtime, having to eke out wins against the Lightning and Panthers. The value looks like it’s with the Bruins, but this looks like a set-up to me from the sportsbooks. I expect Henrik to have another strong performance tonight. Not a lot of options on the docket tonight with only two games Wednesday night. In any case, my play falls with the Rangers at home.
PICK: RANGERS TO WIN -135