The Boston Bruins ended the New York Rangers‘ Stanley Cup dreams last season, ousting them in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Tuesday night the two teams meet for the first time since. It was a bitter disappointment for the Rangers, a team that entered the lockout-shortened season as one of the favorites to win it all. Following a difficult loss to the Los Angeles Kings, the Rangers have to be hungry for revenge prior to embarking on yet another road trip.
This is a pivotal game for the Rangers, especially as Rick Nash is likely to return to the lineup. The two teams are very similar to last season’s squads. Boston is a brute, physical team that rolls four lines deep with great goaltending by Tuukka Rask. The Rangers simply lack the depth that Boston boasts. However, they are well-equipped to play a physical, grind-it-out game with the Bruins. They can beat them on any given night, especially if Henrik Lundqvist is at the top of his game.
Bruins big men like Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand will attempt to get under the Rangers’ skin, therefore it is imperative they not give away mindless penalties. They also boast two young blue line studs in Ranger killer Torey Krug and 20-year old Dougie Hamilton, which could potentially produce matchup nightmares. As Boston’s defense has allowed the fewest goals in the NHL thus far this season, Nash’s return resonates even more. The Rangers have only scored three goals in the last three games and can easily get shut out again if they don’t bring their “A” offensive game and apply a heavy fore-check.
The Rangers go on a five-game road trip following this game to close out the month of November. They made a statement in blowing out an elite team in the Pittsburgh Penguins at home two weeks ago, and now it’s time to make another one against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year. Not only is it a revenge game, but it is important for the Rangers to get a big confidence boost before going on the road again.