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Wednesday Night Rivalry

Rangers, Bruins pushing closer to playoffs

Zuccarello, Eriksson among players helping their teams make climb

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

It's possible the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers could meet at some point during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But the first objective for each team is to get there, and the winner of the Wednesday Night Rivalry game this week at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1) will be two points closer toward achieving that goal.

Each team spent last week playing three games in California. The Bruins went 0-3-0 and have been off since a 2-1 loss at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday; the Rangers were 1-1-1 before defeating the Florida Panthers 4-2 at the Garden on Monday.

As the Bruins and Rangers keep pushing toward a playoff berth, here are four players helping their teams make the climb:

Loui Eriksson, RW, Bruins -- Eriksson has given the Bruins an offensive boost this season by scoring 27 goals, the most he's had since 2010-11, when he had 27 with the Dallas Stars. His 54 points are second on the Bruins and the most he's had since getting 71 with the Stars in 2011-12. Eriksson is tied for the Bruins lead with 10 power-play goals, and has three goals and five points in Boston's past five games.

David Krejci, C, Bruins -- It's been a bounce-back season for Krejci, who has 15 goals and 54 points in 63 games this season, up from seven goals and 31 points in 47 games during an injury-plagued 2014-15 season. He's had a goal, four points and is plus-2 in Boston's past five games. Krejci is also a proven postseason performer, with 29 goals and 77 points in 93 playoff games.

Mats Zuccarello, RW, Rangers -- The littlest Ranger is New York's biggest scorer; his 54 points are the most on the team. Zuccarello scored in the homecoming win against Florida and has a career-high 23 goals with 2 ½ weeks remaining in the season. He's already put up five points more than he had all last season and is five shy of his career high of 59, accomplished in 2013-14.

Kevin Klein, D, Rangers -- Klein doesn't put up huge offensive numbers, but he seems to step up when the Rangers need him most. Klein scored both of New York's goals in a 2-1 win at the Anaheim Ducks last Wednesday and had two assists in the win against Florida on Monday. His eight goals (in 60 games) are one less than his career high, set last season, and he's plus-45 in 155 games since being acquired by the Rangers from the Nashville Predators on Jan. 22, 2014. Eight of his 17 goals since the start of last season have been game-winners.

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