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Rangers Go For Fifth Straight Win Tonight Against Boston

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

Rangers (7-7-2, 16 pts) vs Bruins (6-4-3, 15 pts)
8 pm, Madison Square Garden

The Game

The Rangers put their four-game winning streak on the line Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden.

The Blueshirts scored four goals -including three on the power play - in Monday's 5-3 comeback win over Columbus at The Garden. Mika Zibanejad had a career-best three assists and Michael Grabner chipped in with two goals. Kevin Shattenkirk, Pavel Buchnevich and Chris Kreider all had third period power play goals, with Buchnevich's holding up to be the game-winner.

With the off day on Tuesday, coach Alain Vigneault has not announced his starter for tonight. Henrik Lundqvist has been in goal for all four games during this current winning streak and improved to 6-4-2 on the year.

Boo Nieves was a game-time decision Monday but ultimately was kept out of the lineup with an illness for the second consecutive game. An update on his status should be given later today.

Tonight's matchup is the first of three meetings between the two Original Six squads, and the first of two at The Garden.

The Bruins are coming off a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Monday night, and are 2-1 in its last three games.

But Boston comes to New York with a long list of injuries, with leading scoring Brad Marchand joining that prior to Monday's contest against Minnesota with an upper body injury. He'll be unavailable tonight against the Rangers. David Krejci, David Backes, Ryan Spooner Adam McQuaid are also out of the lineup, while goaltender Tuukka Rask spent time on IR earlier this year.

Players to Watch

Zibanejad has been everything the Rangers could have wanted heading into this season and more. The 24-year-old has been red-hot as of late with points in six of his last seven games, with 11 points in that span. Ten of Zibanejad's 17 points this season have come on the power play, which after going 3-for-5 last night is ranked sixth in the NHL. Zibanejad has a point in six of his last eight games against the Bruins with four goals and two assists during that stretch.

With Marchand on the shelf, Boston will look to David Pastrnak to carry the load offensively. The 21-year-old finished second in points behind Marchand with 70 in 75 games a year ago, and is tied with Marchand with 14 points in 13 games, including eight goals. Pastrnak has six points, including two goals, in his last four contests dating back to Oct. 30.

Say what?

"I think to show them different threats, to not be a one-trick pony on the power play, that's important. I think using the players we have on the power play we have been doing a good job with that. It's just a matter of time." - Mika Zibanejad on the Rangers' power play

Inside the Numbers

Zibanejad became the first Ranger to record three power play assists in one game since Dec. 29, 2007 at Toronto (Jaromir Jagr and Brandon Dubinsky), and he also became the first Ranger to tally three power play assists in one period since Jagr on Oct. 12, 2007 vs. Washington (first period).

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