The New York Rangers conclude a five-game road trip on Black Friday against the Boston Bruins. The trip has been a successful one so far, as the team has earned six out of possible eight points. The Rangers now face a team they dominated at home last Tuesday despite a 2-1 loss. The only thing they did wrong was not put the puck in the net. If the Rangers can actually do so and bring the same effort in Boston as they did in New York, they should come away with a win that would serve as a major confidence boost heading home.
As the Bruins currently stand in first place in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers may just need that dominant effort. Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal and needs to be on his A-game. This will be a nationally televised game, dubbed the “Thanksgiving Showdown“. The Rangers have an opportunity to show America their mettle and that they can hang with a better team. They surely aren’t intimidated by the Bruins, but they simply are not as talented or deep.
Aside from Lundqvist’s goaltending duel with Tuukka Rask, the keys to this game are staying out of the penalty box and winning physical battles, especially against Boston big boys Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara. It is also imperative the Rangers’ fourth line stand toe-to-toe with Boston’s as this matchup created nightmares in the two teams’ previous meeting. Someone on the Rangers’ bottom-six needs to make a play, and the rest of the team scoring a few goals would be helpful as well.
Regardless of the outcome of this game, the Rangers have already had a successful road trip. Should they win this game in Boston, not only is it an added bonus, but it will benefit the Rangers on a mental level. Boston looks like the team to beat in the East. The Rangers have a golden opportunity to keep them honest and show they are capable of being the best, too. A win will make them believe it even more.