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East heavyweights clash as Bruins host Rangers

by Dave Lozo /

RANGERS (0-0-0) at BRUINS (0-0-0)


Season series: This is the first meeting of the season. Last season, the Rangers took three of four from the Bruins.

Big story: A case can be made that these are the two best teams in the Eastern Conference entering the season. The Rangers and Bruins battled for the top seed in the East throughout last season, with the Rangers pulling away late. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Bruins were defeated in seven games in the first round by the seventh-seeded Capitals, while the top-seeded Rangers survived two seven-game scares before losing in the Eastern final to the Devils in six games.

Team Scope:

Rangers: After seeing their above-average offense dry up in the postseason, GM Glen Sather acquired perennial 30-goal scorer Rick Nash for a slew of players, including forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov. Also leaving the club as a free agent was forward Ruslan Fedotenko, who signed with the Flyers. To plug these holes, the Rangers signed Arron Asham, Jeff Halpern and Taylor Pyatt.

The Rangers' overall depth takes a hit, but there's no denying their top-six forwards are now among the most dangerous in the League.

"He's such a great player," Brad Richards, who will likely be Nash's center to start the season, told the New York Times. "I don't see too many problems. I'm not saying it's going to be magic, either. But hopefully, we get it going right away."

Bruins: There's not a lot different when comparing this year's team to last year's except in one key spot -- goaltending.

Tuukka Rask is finally the unquestioned No. 1 goaltender with Tim Thomas deciding to take the 2012-13 season off. Rask, 25, has spent most of his time in Boston backing up Thomas, but had a lengthy stretch as starter during the 2009-10 season.

"The years you play, you gain experience. You gain confidence," Rask said. "You go through these experiences, good and bad, and you learn from them. I think those make you a better player.”"

Injury report: The Rangers will be without Asham, who has one game remaining on a suspension he received during last season's playoffs as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. … For the Bruins, forward Jordan Caron (upper body) will miss time with an injury he suffered while playing for Providence of the AHL during the lockout.

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