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Bruins Look to Gain Momentum on Road Trip

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

NEW YORK — The Bruins have picked up three of four points so far on their five-game road trip with Game No. 3 set for Monday night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

They earned a 4-1 win over the Devils in New Jersey on Friday night before being edged by the Senators 2-1 in overtime on Saturday.

The Black & Gold are quickly moving on, though. Their matchup with the Sens could have gone either way in the 3-on-3 OT.

With the Bruins at the midpoint of their road trip, a strong outing could also catapult them into a good position heading into their final two games in Philadelphia and Buffalo.

“We know it’s a tough road trip and our guys have played fairly well,” Head Coach Claude Julien said pregame. “I thought in Ottawa the first period was kind of one of those periods where we had to get our legs under us and then once we did, it became a pretty even game and we had some chances. In overtime, if it doesn’t hit the post, it’s a win, but that’s how things go.”

“So I’m not disappointed in the effort and our approach so far in those first two games.”

The Bruins also officially enter the second half of their season on Monday. At the midpoint, they sit at 21-14-15 on the season with 47 points.

“I think we’ve had a pretty decent year, but we can still improve and be better,” said Brad Marchand. “I think every team strives to be better all the time and we’re one of those teams, so I think we’ve been pretty good and we’re in the running right now, but we want to continue to be better every day and continue to climb.”

The Rangers are just ahead of the Bruins with 49 points and a 22-14-9 record on the season. The last time these two teams met, in the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday matinee on Nov. 27, the Bruins came from behind twice to earn a 4-3 win in arguably one of theirs best outings of the season.

Heading into Monday’s matchup, New York is coming off of a 4-3 overtime loss to the East’s best, the Washington Capitals, in which they had a strong outing, and a 6-2 rout of the West’s best, the Dallas Stars.

“I think at this point, where we are at this point in the season, we’ve got to find momentum somehow,” said Rangers forward Rick Nash. “That was a good example with a game like that [against Washington].”

The Rangers are due to get forward Chris Kreider back in the lineup after missing two games with a hand laceration. The Bruins need to be alert for he and the rest of the Rangers’ skilled forwards, especially off the rush.

“It will be a high paced game — you look at their lineup, they have great skill in their lineup,” said Jimmy Hayes, who was able to catch up with his brother (and Rangers forward) Kevin and his father on Sunday night.

“It’s going to be a big game for us, a big test for us and a big chance for us to move forward and find a way to continue climbing the standings.”

No Lineup Changes in Pregame Skate

The Bruins hit the ice for a full pregame skate at MSG on Monday morning, after spending Sunday off the ice traveling to New York City from Ottawa.

Roster decisions could always change come Monday night, but based on the morning line rushes, the lineup appears to be the same as the Bruins’ matchup against Ottawa on Saturday, with Joe Morrow, Brett Connolly and Zac Rinaldo the scratches.

Tuukka Rask is also expected between the pipes, as he practiced in the visitors net during pregame skate and was the first netminder off the ice.

Rask made 38 saves on 40 shots in the Bruins’ 2-1 overtime loss to Ottawa on Saturday. The netminder usually plays well at MSG and has accumulated a 9-4-3 record against the Rangers in his career, with a 2.01 goals-against average and .933 save percentage, with two shutouts.

Seeing Potential with Pastrnak

David Pastrnak has now played two games back in the lineup with Boston. He scored the Bruins’ lone goal on Saturday in Ottawa, and has the potential to stick on a line with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

“He helps our team on and off the ice, with like you said, youth energy,” said Marchand. “And how happy he is all the time. He’s always laughing and cheering guys up, so he’s great to have around.”

“And you see he helps our team on the ice too. He got a nice goal last night and with his speed and his skill, he helps a lot.”

Krug Nears Milestone

Torey Krug is expected to suit up in his 200th NHL game on Monday against the Rangers.

“I’ve come a long ways,” said Krug. “I mean, even when I first came into the League, I seemed like a different player, just a guy that was used for offensive purposes and power play and not getting too many chances defensively and now it’s a little bit different role on this team, and I’ve loved the role that I’ve been thrown into and I’m just enjoying it.”

How would the defenseman like to mark Game No. 200?

“Just a win,” he smiled. “I’ll be happy with a win.”

Projected Lineup vs. Rangers 1/11

Brad Marchand—Patrice Bergeron—David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey—Ryan Spooner—Loui Eriksson
Frank Vatrano—Joonas Kemppainen—Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo—Max Talbot—Landon Ferraro

Zdeno Chara—Zach Trotman
Dennis Seidenberg—Colin Miller
Torey Krug—Kevan Miller

Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Jonas Gustavsson

Projected Scratches: Joe Morrow, Brett Connolly, Zac Rinaldo
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