If it feels like the Boston Bruins have already played the New York Rangers endlessly this season, it’s because they kind of have. After opening the season at home against New York (3-1 win) and then traveling to Manhattan just days later (4-3 overtime loss), this will be the last game of the regular season between the two teams.
This is actually only the first Bruins home game in the month of February so far. They’ve played a lot on the road and, of course, had a game postponed to late April because of the winter storm. There will only be one other game inside TD Garden before the calendar changes. This month, the team may have the easiest schedule I’ve ever seen despite being on the road so much. There are lots of multi-day breaks between games, which serves them well for being rested and ready. They are able to come back to Boston and practice in familiar territory before heading off to various locales.
Speaking of ready, every member of the team is ready to go and all the lines have been reunited in morning skate. All Providence call-ups are back in Rhode Island and it’s just good to see everyone back together after so many troubles with injuries. There’s still some uncertainty about where Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton will fit in, considering that moving Seguin to a temporary new line sparked some production in the new Improper Bostonian cover boy.
Coach Claude Julien has emphasized the importance of his team getting off to a good start. Considering that they are 8-1-1 through 10 games played, which is their best start ever in nearly 90 years, I think that mission is accomplished. He acknowledges, though, that the Rangers may be difficult to play against too, but sees his team getting better and says that he knows some players aren’t yet at the zenith of their games.
I think that list would not include David Krejci, though. Not only did he score a goal in the last Boston-New York meeting, but he recently went on a five-game point streak and a four-game assisting streak. He had those streaks snapped recently, but now he looks to be back on track.
Nor would it include the ever-humble Patrice Bergeron, who analyzed his power play goal from the most recent game by talking about how Rich Peverley and Chris Bourque helped him out instead of how he did it all himself. Bergeron has a fairly strong career to date against the Rangers: four goals and seven assists.
But it could include Seguin and Brad Marchand, who scored in his first game back from injury. Coach didn’t name names.
Tuukka Rask left the ice first at morning skate, so look for him to get the start tonight after being able to get a little rest last time. Over on the Rangers side, they are going with Henrik Lundqvist, as expected, really.
Note that this game will start at 7:30 p.m., but will be televised on two different networks. Inside New England, turn on NESN. Outside New England, turn on NBC Sports Network.