RANGERS vs. BRUINS, 7 p.m.
Rangers Alumni Classic, 1 p.m.
Madison Square Garden
MSG Network, 98.7 FM
Sunday at Madison Square Garden is all about Rangers vs Bruins, all about hockey history, all day long.
The legends of the sport will get it started with the Rangers Alumni Classic, a 1 pm faceoff featuring a team of Rangers greats that includes Leetch and Beukeboom on the blue line, Graves up front and Gilbert, Ratelle, Park, Greschner, Maloney on the Blueshirts' bench. At 7 pm, it's the Blueshirts and the B's for real, in what will be the Rangers' 2,000th regular-season game at the current Madison Square Garden.
It is the Rangers' alums who will be on the second leg of a back-to-back, having been the visitors in Waltham, Mass., on Saturday, for an alumni game benefitting the Warrior For Life Fund. Meanwhile, on Sunday night, the 2019-20 Rangers will be a couple days removed from their best game of their young season and tasked with carrying that forward as they play the fourth of their season-long five-game homestand.
Ryan Strome scored twice to pace the Rangers' 6-2 rout of League-leading Buffalo on Thursday, and the center has only continued to heating up: he has points in five of the last six games (2-4--6). But it's unclear whether he'll get a chance to keep it going on Sunday after missing Saturday's practice while dealing with the flu. Quinn said he was optimistic; Greg McKegg practiced in Strome's spot between Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich.
Strome and Panarin were two of the Rangers' five goal-scorers in Thursday' win, while another was Tony DeAngelo, whose goal was his third in the last two games. Quinn has seen DeAngelo raise his game at both ends of the ice and on Sunday will give his 24-year-old blueliner a look on the Rangers' top power-play unit for the first time.
"Right place, right time right now, and guys have been putting the puck on my tape," DeAngelo said of his scoring binge. "I think I'm doing a good job right now picking my spots and when to jump in and join the play."
Lundqvist will take his fourth start in five games for the Rangers, set to face a Bruins team that has suffered only one regulation loss in its first 10 games this season (7-1-2). Boston will finish up a back-to-back following a 3-0 home-ice blanking of St. Louis on Saturday night in a rematch of last season's Stanley Cup Final; it was the Bruins' third shutout win in their 10 games this season.
There is no hotter goal-scorer in the NHL than the Bruins' David Pastrnak, the League's only player with double digits in goals so far. Pastrnak scored No. 11 in his 10th game of the season Saturday night - once again the game's first goal, and once again on a power play, where six of his goals have come.
"You're managing not only Pastrnak, but Bergeron and Marchand too," David Quinn said. "When they have the puck, you can do an awful lot of things right and still suffer. The best thing we can do against them is to have the puck ourselves."
Patrice Bergeron centers Brad Marchand on his left and Pastrnak on his right; Marchand upped his points streak to nine games with an assist on Pastrnak's power-play goal on Saturday.
After Tuukka Rask picked up his second shutout of the season against St. Louis on Saturday, Jaroslav Halak will go against the Rangers. Halak faced the Blueshirts in all three meetings last season, once in relief of an injured Rask, going 1-1-1. He made 36 saves to get the Bruins to a shootout in their lone 2018-19 visit to the Garden, on Feb. 6; DeAngelo beat him in the seventh round to win it.
20 Kreider - 93 Zibanejad - 17 Fast
10 Panarin - 16 Strome - 89 Buchnevich
48 Lemieux - 21 Howden - 24 Kakko
14 McKegg - 28 Andersson - 42 Smith
25 Hajek - 8 Trouba
18 Staal - 23 Fox
76 Skjei - 77 DeAngelo
63 Marchand - 37 Bergeron - 88 Pastrnak
74 DeBrusk - 13 Coyle - 18 Ritchie
10 Bjork - 26 Lindholm - 43 Heinen
20 Nordstrom - 52 Kuraly - 14 Wagner
33 Chara - 73 McAvoy
47 Krug - 25 Carlo
48 Grzelcyk - 75 Clifton
The Rangers are 9-2 in their last 11 games against the Bruins. They have allowed two or fewer goals in eight of those games, and won all eight.
The Rangers are 6-1 in their last seven at the Garden against the Bruins.
Henrik Lundqvist, winner of seven of his last nine starts against Boston, has the highest career save percentage against the Bruins (.931) of any goaltender in NHL history with a minimum of 30 games vs. the B's. His 2.09 GAA is second only to the 2.08 of Charlie Gardiner, who played for Chicago from 1927-34.
David Pastrnak has opened the scoring in five of the Bruins' 10 games this season, including his power-play goal in Saturday night's win over St. Louis.
Boston is tied for second in the League on power plays at 31.3 percent. They have scored at least one power-play goal in each of their last six games, going 9-for-22 in that stretch, six of them coming from Pastrnak.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mika Zibanejad will skate in his 500th NHL game on Sunday; it will be his 219th game as a Ranger. Zibanejad scored five of his 30 goals last season in three games against Boston, most against any opponent.
Brad Marchand was held off the scoresheet in Boston's season opener Oct. 3 in Dallas, and has points in all nine games since, 5-10--15 in all, tied for sixth in the NHL.
"Leetchie was here working on his game last month, getting some practices and so he's ready. I like the Rangers' chances if Leetchie's ready." -David Quinn on Sunday afternoon's Rangers Alumni Classic vs. the Bruins