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Bruins wrap up regular-season series with Rangers

by Brian Hunter

RANGERS (6-5-0) at BRUINS (8-1-1)


Last 10: New York 6-4-0

Season series: Third and final meeting of the regular season. Each team has won on its home ice. Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille and Johnny Boychuk all scored as Boston won 3-1 on opening night. Four days later, Marian Gaborik completed a hat trick with a goal 27 seconds into overtime for a 4-3 victory.

Big story: Highlighted at the start of the season as a potential Eastern Conference Finals matchup, the Bruins have lived up to the early hype with just two losses -- one in regulation -- over their first 10 games, while the Rangers seem to be rounding into form after a sluggish start. These teams won't see each other again after Tuesday unless they meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Team Scope:

Rangers: Sunday's 5-1 dismantling of visiting Tampa Bay put New York over .500 for the first time this season. After relying so heavily on Gaborik, Brad Richards and Rick Nash, 10 of the Rangers' last 13 goals have come from players other than their big three. Carl Hagelin was the big gun against the Lightning, potting two goals and adding an assist, while Arron Asham added his first as a Blueshirt. They have won five of seven.

"It's being in the right spot," said Hagelin, whose first goal Sunday ricocheted in off his body. "The puck is going in now compared to before. It's not a huge difference. Obviously I didn't get off to a great start, but since then I've had chances and I've been able to put them in and today they went in."

Bruins: This is one of only two home games Boston will play in the month of February, thanks in part to the postponement last weekend of its game against Tampa Bay. The Bruins then headed off to Buffalo, where a tight game against the Sabres turned on a power-play goal by Patrice Bergeron. Lucic added an empty-netter for a 3-1 victory, as Anton Khudobin picked up his second win in as many starts with a 25-save effort.

"I think it's important to get off to a good start," coach Claude Julien said. "The way the schedule was made, we're going to be behind in games played by the end of this month, so it's important to stay in the playoff pack."

Who's hot: Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has allowed just a single goal in each of his last two starts. … Brad Marchand scored Sunday after missing the previous game due to injury and leads the Bruins with six goals.

Injury report: The only injuries for either team are long-term ones -- New York defensemen Michael Sauer hasn't played since December 2011 due to a concussion, while Boston forward Jordan Caron has missed the entire season to this point with an upper-body injury.

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