RANGERS (40-30-5) at BRUINS (41-22-10)
TV -- MSG (HD), NESN (HD)
Last 10 --
New York 7-2-1; Boston 4-3-3
Season series --
This is the third of four meetings between the teams this season. Each team has a victory, but they have not faced off since a Nov. 17 game the Bruins won 3-2 at Madison Square Garden.
Big story --
It's not too far-fetched to think this could be a first-round matchup in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins are nestled in third place in the Eastern Conference while the Rangers are two points out of sixth.
Riding a five-game winning streak and surging up the standings, the Rangers had a bit of a hiccup against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. They mustered just 14 shots during the first two periods before waking up in time to earn a point in a 2-1 shootout loss.
The Rangers are 7-1-1 in their last nine, but they'll need to bring more energy if they expect to escape Boston with a victory.
"I don't want to think about missing a point or winning a point," said goalie Henrik Lundqvist
, who made 29 saves, plus four stops in the shootout. "We just have to move on. Hopefully it will be more than enough in the end."
The Montreal Canadiens supposedly were ready to get revenge -- with a terrific performance, of course -- in their first game against the Bruins since Max Pacioretty suffered his scary injury as the result of a hit by Zdeno Chara
Instead, it was domination by the Bruins, who dismantled the Canadiens 7-0 on Thursday. Chara was the game's first star with 3 assists, while Nathan Horton
and Gregory Campbell
each had 2 goals.
"It wasn't a message; this was a really big game for us," said Boston center David Krejci
, who along with Milan Lucic
also had 3 assists. "We wanted to come out strong and get the two points. I would be happy if it was 1-0, but it was good to get that big of a win."
Who's hot --
The Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky
has 2 goals and 4 assists in his last five games. … Lucic has a goal and 4 assists in his last two games for the Bruins.
Injury report --
With Marc Staal
's return to the lineup Thursday, the Rangers are as healthy as they've been all season. … Boston defenseman Shane Hnidy (shoulder) is on injured reserve, but he's close to being able to join the lineup.
Stat pack --
Assuming Lundqvist makes his 20th consecutive start for the Rangers, it will be the 400th game of his NHL career. … The Bruins have scored seven or more goals in a game six times. They are 1-3-1 in the games that follow those scoring outbursts.
Puck drop --
"We have to stay focused, not get too high or too low," Chara said. "We got to stay nice and humble."