Bruins Put Four-Game Win Streak on Line Against Injury-Riddled Rangers

Bruins Put Four-Game Win Streak on Line Against Injury-Riddled Rangers The Bruins come into a Saturday night showdown with the Rangers riding a four-game win streak, and they'll be looking to do something they never managed to do last season. That's winning a fifth game in a row.

New York, meanwhile, snapped a three-game losing streak of its own on Thursday with a 2-1 win over Toronto. The Rangers have been the epitome of mediocre so far this season, posting a 2-2-1 record and scoring 16 goals while allowing 17.

But New York is still a dangerous team that has given the Bruins plenty of fits in recent years. Boston-New York matchups always bring some electricity — and a full house — to the Garden, whether it's TD or Madison Square, and usually keep those fans on the edge of their seats with tight games that go down to the wire.

When and Where

Boston Bruins (4-1-0, 8 points) vs. New York Rangers (2-2-1, 5 points)

Oct. 19, 7 p.m. (NESN)

TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Head to Head

This is the first of four meetings this season between the Original Six rivals. The Rangers won three of the four clashes last year, but Boston holds a 282-235-97-6 edge in the all-time series.

Goaltending Matchup

Tim Thomas continued his spectacular start with a 38-save effort in Thursday's 4-1 win against Washington. He's now 4-0-0 with a 0.75 GAA and a .978 save percentage on the season, having stopped 133 of the 136 shots he's faced this year. Tuukka Rask led the NHL in both goals-against average (1.97) and save percentage (.931) last season, but lost the season opener in Prague to Phoenix when he allowed four goals on 36 shots and has not played since.

For the Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist is the workhorse, but he's off to an uncharacteristic slow start with a 1-2-1 record, 3.75 GAA and an .892 save percentage. Martin Biron is a more than capable backup, winning his only start so far to go 1-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .960 save percentage.

Stat Sheet

Bruins

  • All four victories in Boston's current win streak have come against teams that finished with more than 100 points last season. The Bruins beat Phoenix, which ranked fourth in the West with 107 points, New Jersey, which won the Atlantic Division with 103 points, and swept a home-and-home series with Washington, the Presidents' Trophy winner with 121 points.
  • It's a safe bet that this will be a close game. Since the St. Patrick's Day Massacre when the Rangers routed the Bruins 7-0 on March 17, 2007, the Bruins and Rangers have met 13 times. Eleven of those games have been decided by one goal, while the other two were each 3-1 decisions. The overall results in that span are extremely close as well, with the Bruins going 6-4-3 in those games.
  • Bruins rookie Jordan Caron certainly enjoys making a good first impression in the Garden. In his first appearance there in the first rookie game against the Islanders, Caron notched a hat trick. In his first regular-season game on Garden ice on Thursday, Caron scored another goal, which proved the game-winner, against Washington.

Rangers

  • New York has struggled mightily on the penalty kill, ranking 28th in the league at just 75.0 percent with six goals allowed on 24 chances. That could be good news for the Bruins, who finally came alive on the man-advantage with three power-play goals on Thursday.
  • Rookie Derek Stepan had a hat trick in his NHL debut in Buffalo on Oct. 9, but hasn't had a goal since. He still leads the Rangers with three goals and five points.
  • The Rangers blocked an astounding 30 shots against Toronto on Thursday. That was more saves than Biron needed to make, as the Leafs managed to get just 25 shots through to the net. Michael Del Zotto led the way with seven blocks, while Dan Girardi had six and Michal Rozsival had five, but 14 different Rangers had at least one.

Infirmary Report

Bruins

  • Center Marc Savard (post-concussion syndrome) is out indefinitely.
  • Left wing Marco Sturm (knee surgery) is expected to be out until at least November.
  • Center Trent Whitfield (ruptures Achilles) could miss the entire year.

Rangers

  • Right wing Marian Gaborik (separated left shoulder) is out 2-4 weeks.
  • Forward Chris Drury (broken left index finger) is out six weeks.
  • Center/left wing Vinny Prospal (right knee surgery) is out two months.

Familiar Faces

The Rangers have a strong New England flavor with forwards Drury (Trumbull, Conn./Boston University) and Brian Boyle (Hingham, Mass./Boston College) and defenseman Matt Gilroy (Boston University). Coach John Tortorella (Concord, Mass.) and assistant Mike Sullivan (Marshfield, Mass.) also have local ties, and Sullivan also played for the Bruins in 1997-98 and coached them from 2003-06. Rangers director of player personnel Gordie Clark also played, coached and scouted for the Bruins, while assistant director of player personnel Jeff Gorton was an assistant GM and interim GM for Boston.

Fight Card

The Bruins and Rangers each have three fighting majors this season. Brandon Prust leads New York with two, while heavyweight Derek Boogaard had his first fight as a Ranger against Colton Orr on Thursday. Greg Campbell led Boston with two, while Milan Lucic has the other. Last year, there were two fights in the four-game series, with Shawn Thornton taking on Donald Brashear and Steve Begin fighting Prust.

Outlook

The Bruins are rolling right now, playing solid in all three zones. They got their power play going at last on Thursday, the only weakness in their game so far this season. With that clicking, the top line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Lucic combining for eight goals and 19 points already and Thomas playing out of his mind, the Bruins are the hottest team in the NHL right now. But the Leafs may have held that honor before falling to New York on Thursday, so the Rangers are certainly capable of slowing the Bruins' momentum as well. This one promises to be another entertaining early-season test for the Bruins.

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 187,173 other followers