The Bruins take to the ice once again tonight against original six rivals, the New York Rangers. Ten days ago, the Bruins travelled to the famed Madison Square Garden, and suffered a 5-2 shellacking at the hands of the Rangers. Tonight, the Rangers travel to Boston's TD Garden, and the B's hope to serve their guests the same punishment they received in New York. The Bruins have had a bit of a rough start. They saw a stretch of games in which they relied only on their AHL goalies, they have been without some of their most productive forwards, and have a defensive team that's inexperience has been more than noticeable. Despite this, the Bruins first 10 games have led them to a 6-4-0 (12 point) record. The Rangers, on the other hand, have soared to an 8-3-0 record (16 points), the second best record in the NHL. Helped along by their impressive 4.09 goals/games, and the 6th best defense in the league, the Rangers are enjoying their fast start to the season. Can the Bruins overcome the odds and get a win at home? Let's find out. PLAYING AT HOME - The B's have not been impressive at home to start the year, sporting a 1-2-0 record. The problem has not necessarily been bad play, but more of an inconsistent goaltending situation. The Bruins have shown they can be one of the best teams in the league when Rask is in net, but he only played in one of the three home games. In that game, the Bruins came out on top 2-1 over New Jersey. By the way, Rask is expected to play in net tonight, so perhaps this could help the Bruins. Nonetheless, the play at home has been anything but beneficial for the Bruins. Hopefully the successful road trip has lit a fire under this team, and they can carry the momentum into the Garden, tonight. BACKES RETURNS - After missing 5 games with an elbow injury, right-winger David Backes makes his return to the ice tonight. The new Bruin was missed, as nobody really picked up the slack in his absence. His gritty style and offensive prowess was a key element for the Bs in their first 5 games, and he was especially missed during the McIntyre-Subban mess. A key player with offensive and defensive skill could have been vital in helping the young goalies feel confident between the pipes. His return tonight could be a factor in the outcome of the game. RASK STAYS HOT - Thursday night, Tuukka Rask had to play a little more than he had bargained for, as the Lightning took the Bruins into a 10 round shootout. Rask saved 9 out of 10 to maintain his perfect record to start the year. As mentioned he is being called upon one again to lead the team, this time against an even tougher opponent. But, boasting a 1.48 GAA and .951 SV%, the Bruins net minder has been one of the best in the NHL, and may carry Boston to the win. If they are going to win, the Bs will need to follow these... 3 KEYS: 1. Get on the Power Play - The Rangers have been incredible, but they have lacked in one specific area. Special teams. The Rangers rank outside the top half of the league in their penalty kill, and while the Bruins have the 2nd worst power play, exploiting New York's weakness could lift Boston to success. 2. Play to the Crowd - Get the crowd into the game. It's simple. Make hits, get chances, score goals. A home crowd can be a very important part of a game. A loud crowd gives the home team pride in the game they are playing. The Bruins haven't experienced that this year, as the crowds at the Garden have been zombies so far. Getting the crowd hyped will do wonders for the Bruins tonight. 3. Forget About the Past - The Bruins need to take the last encounter against New York, and erase it from their memory. They can't dwell on the horrible defeat. Especially considering a few of the players expected to play tonight, weren't available 10 days ago. To be successful, the Bruins need to focus only on the present. What happened in New York, does not make a difference tonight. Just forget about it. They're not going to forget about it are they? Crud. Projected lineup: Forwards Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak Spooner-Krejci-Backes Beleskey-Nash-Hayes Schaller-Moore-Acciari Defense Chara-Carlo Krug-McQuaid Liles-C Miller Goalies Rask McIntyre MY LINE-UP: Forwards Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak Spooner-Krejci-Backes Beleskey-Nash-Czarnik Schaller-Moore-Acciari Defense Chara-Carlo Krug-C Miller Liles-McQuaid Goalies Rask McIntyre Prediction: NYR 3-2 BOS The Rangers are too good of a team, and the Bruins struggle too much at home for me to consider a win. What do you think will happen tonight? Can the Bruins win? What do your 3 Keys look like? Let me know in the comments. Go B's!
Original Six rivals square off for the second time this season