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Daily Primer Nov. 29: Rangers, Bruins heat up rivalry

by Jon Lane

Two of the Original Six teams will be in the spotlight Friday when the New York Rangers take on the Boston Bruins in the 2013 NHL Thanksgiving Showdown (1 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN) at TD Garden. It's the Rangers' fifth of 14 scheduled games against Original Six opponents, against whom they've enjoyed some success. Since 2005-06, New York is 60-39-12 against Original Six teams, including 22-8-2 against Boston during that time.

The game Friday carries significance even in the early portion of the regular season. The Bruins lead the Eastern Conference with 34 points and will look to erase the sting of a 6-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. The Rangers' 5-2 victory against the Florida Panthers moved them into second place in the Metropolitan Division. The teams may not be division rivals, but this matchup fits neatly into the framework of a New York vs. Boston rivalry. The Bruins will look to get back on their game and the Rangers are after revenge for a 2-1 loss Nov. 19 and a five-game ousting against Boston in last season's Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Here's a look at a busy Friday in the League:

Winnipeg Jets at Philadelphia Flyers -- Inconsistency has plagued the Jets in this young season and has kept them toward the bottom of the loaded Central Division, the only division in the League with all teams above .500. But Winnipeg has made the most of its recent opportunities, going 6-2-2 in its past 10 games, and it takes a 6-1-1 mark against the Eastern Conference to Wells Fargo Center for an 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time faceoff. The Jets' 3-2 win against the New York Islanders on Wednesday gave them their fifth straight victory against the East, but they enter a venue where the Flyers have won their past four games by outscoring opponents 18-7. Philadelphia is on a mini-skid since a 6-0-1 stretch, losing on the road to the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning while scoring a combined three goals.

New York Rangers at Boston Bruins -- The Rangers end their five-game road trip against the Bruins, but may not be in such a hurry to return home for their showdown against John Tortorella and the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. New York has seven wins in its past eight road games after a 5-3 win against the Panthers on Wednesday. If history is any indication, expect a close game. Since March 24, 2007, the Rangers and Bruins have been separated by one goal in 20 of their past 25 meetings, including eight games that went into overtime and six to a shootout.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning -- Tampa Bay has lit up the scoreboard despite the absence of top gun Steven Stamkos (broken tibia). The Lightning have won their past two games by a combined score of 9-2 and have averaged 2.63 goals a game since Stamkos' injury Nov. 11, which sits in the top third in the League during that stretch. A win against the Penguins will end the Lightning's homestand at a perfect 3-0, but it will have to come at the expense of a Penguins team that's won seven straight against Tampa Bay since Jan. 15, 2012. The high-octane Penguins have 38 goals in those seven games, with a minimum of four in each, and have seen Evegni Malkin heat up with points in his past six games (three goals, nine assists).

Detroit Red Wings at New York Islanders -- New York hasn't won since it defeated Detroit 5-4 Nov. 16. A 3-2 loss to the Jets on Wednesday was the Islanders' fourth straight and ninth in 11 games that dropped their record to 4-10-0 since trading Matt Moulson to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek on Oct. 27. The Red Wings may be the ideal opponent for the Islanders, who have won five straight on Long Island against the men from the Motor City. However, an Islanders win Friday is far from automatic. After an 0-2-5 stretch from Nov. 4-19, Detroit has won three of four and comes off a 6-1 win against the Bruins on Wednesday.

Calgary Flames at Anaheim Ducks -- Anaheim is the League's only team yet to lose in regulation at on home ice. Although the Ducks are after an 18th straight win at Honda Center against the Flames, they're still smarting from a 6-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday when they gave up three goals in a 53-second stretch of the third period. The Flames arrive to southern California losers of 17 straight at Honda Center to the Ducks since 2004, and hurting with injuries to Mark Giordano (ankle), Curtis Glenncross (knee), Dennis Wideman (hand) and impressive rookie Sean Monahan (hairline fracture, foot).

St. Louis Blues at San Jose Sharks -- Don't expect Blues forward Maxim Lapierre and Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle to exchange holiday greetings when the teams meet for the first time since Lapierre illegally checked Boyle into the boards, which led to a combined 89 penalty minutes. The Sharks responded with a 6-2 win led by captain Joe Thornton's goal and three assists, and host the Blues, winners of three straight and six of seven. St. Louis is 10-1-1 in its past 12 while outscoring opponents 19-5 during a season-best five-game winning streak and has a power-play goal in six of its past eight games.

Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals -- One week after defeating the Capitals 3-2 at Verizon Center, the Canadiens are back in Washington for a late-afternoon affair riding a four-game winning streak. Conversely, the Capitals are losers of four straight and have fallen from first to third place in the Metropolitan Division. Part of the struggles in Washington has been on special teams. The Capitals have allowed a power-play goal in five of the past six games, including three to the Ottawa Senators in a 6-4 loss Wednesday on home ice.

Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild -- Minnesota is missing Zach Parise (bruised foot) and is hurting. The Wild have just four goals in their past three games (1-2-0) and play one of the best defensive teams in the League in hopes of avoiding a three-game losing streak in regulation for the first time this season. Colorado (two goals in its past two games) is also struggling on offense, but is armed with the sixth-best goals-against average in the League (2.13), and takes an 8-2-0 record with a 1.80 goals-against average on the road into the Twin Cities.

New Jersey Devils at Carolina Hurricanes -- The Devils and Hurricanes play the second of a home-and-home series with New Jersey after revenge for a 4-3 loss to Carolina on Wednesday at Prudential Center. On the plus-side, the Devils scored three goals in a game for the first time since Nov. 20 and Jaromir Jagr's 691st career NHL goal moved him past Mario Lemieux (690) into ninth place on the NHL's goal-scoring list, one behind Steve Yzerman (692) for eighth place and three behind Mark Messier (694) for seventh. The Hurricanes are happy to be back at PNC Arena. Their win Wednesday snapped a six-game road losing streak and they are 5-1-1 in their past seven games at home.

Edmonton Oilers at Columbus Blue Jackets -- The Blue Jackets' inconsistent season continued with a 4-0 loss to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday, and they have alternated wins and losses in their past six games. The fact it came off a 6-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs is a microcosm of what's plagued the seventh-place Blue Jackets after just missing the postseason a year ago. Playing the second of a three-game road trip, Edmonton put together an energized effort that produced a 3-0 win against the Predators on Thursday in Ilya Bryzgalov's first NHL start since April 25.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres -- Buffalo responded immediately to an organizational shakeup with a win against Toronto on Nov. 15, but has yet to win in five games since. The Sabres have one goal in each of those five games and have been outscored 14-4 in their past four. Although the Sabres fell to 2-11-1 at First Niagara Center after a 3-1 loss to the Canadiens on Wednesday, the Maple Leafs arrive losers of five straight games on the road. Buffalo hopes to extend the skid and for Matt Moulson to get untracked after he ended an 11-game goal drought Wednesday. Moulson has five goals and two assists in his past six games against Toronto.

Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars -- Dallas lit up American Airlines Center Tuesday night with five goals in the third period en route to a 6-3 win against the Ducks, the most goals they scored in one period since totaling six against the Rangers on Feb. 6, 2009. The Stars' challenge Friday will be slowing down the explosive Blackhawks, who are tied for the League lead in road wins (9-3-1) and have won four straight since losing the opening of their seven-game "Circus Trip." Chicago enjoyed recent success in Dallas with a 5-2 win Nov. 9 led by Patrick Sharp's four assists and Marian Hossa's two goals.

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