NEW YORK -- At the tail end of an important five-game road trip, the New York Rangers have reached what could be a pivotal moment in their season. Their matchup Friday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN) against the Boston Bruins could go a long way toward moving them up the Eastern Conference standings.
But for two Rangers forwards, visiting Boston the day after Thanksgiving also affords an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family.
"My folks noticed it [on the schedule]. They told me about it. They were excited," said Brian Boyle, a Massachusetts native who played college hockey at Boston College. "I think we're traveling that day, on Thanksgiving. It will be nice to see the family, but it's hockey season. Sometimes you miss out on things like that, but it will be nice to see them. I'm sure I'll see them all on Friday after the game."
Left Wing - NYR
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 12
SOG: 39 | +/-: 6
That rare opportunity to be with friends around Thanksgiving is special for Boyle, who doesn't usually get much time for holiday revelry during the season. But like his Rangers teammates, he is focused mostly on an important contest with an Original Six rival.
New York will also be looking to exact some revenge on the Bruins for a 2-1 loss Nov. 19 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers controlled the play for much of that game, outshooting Boston 44-22, but were unable to capitalize on numerous scoring chances.
They're looking to change that when they return to Boston for the first time since being eliminated by the Bruins in Game 5 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
"[My family] will be able to come to the game and I'll be able to see them, but it's a business trip. We're focused on trying to get the two points," said Chris Kreider, another Massachusetts native who attended Boston College. "I'm obviously excited because I'm going to get to go home and a lot of friends and family will be in the area for Thanksgiving. Hopefully I'll be able to see a lot of people after the game. It should be a fun experience."
A fun experience that would be made even more enjoyable by a Rangers' win against their rivals from Boston.