The Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers have a storied rivalry, but Tuesday’s game has the potential to be a 2013 NHL playoffs matchup and a preview of what’s to come this postseason.
Boston (8-1-1) is the superior team right now, but the Rangers (6-5-0) are proving that the offseason moves they made are starting to pay off. There is still much work to be done before New York is considered a top contender in the East, but the Bruins will be pushed to their limit Tuesday.
This wild Eastern Conference matchup has all the earmarks of an excellent game, and the lack of action on a Tuesday night makes this a prime candidate to be the game of the week.
Where: TD Garden, Boston
When: Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. ET
Watch: NBC Sports Network (Nationally), MSG (NYC), NESN (Boston)
Live Stream: NHL GameCenter
Key Injuries (via USA Today)
Marc Savard, C, IR
Michael Sauer, D, Out indefinitely
Bruins’ Player to Watch: Tyler Seguin, C
The Boston Bruins have been playing excellent hockey to start the season, but one facet of the game that needs serious work is the offensive prowess of the team’s young stars; most notably center Tyler Seguin.
Seguin finished the 2011-12 season with 67 points (29 goals and 38 assists), but has only managed six points (two goals and four assists) in 10 games this season.
For the Bruins to withstand their current level of success, the team’s young center must step up more consistently on offense.
When Seguin plays well, the speedy forward can open the ice for his teammates and cause mismatches that Boston can capitalize on.
Rangers’ Player to Watch: Marian Gaborik, RW
The New York Rangers have one of the most dominant lines in the NHL—Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Rick Nash—but their sheer lack of depth behind that top line is atrocious.
That lack of elite talent at forward has forced even more pressure on the trio, but right wing Marian Gaborik is up for the challenge. After staying healthy for 82 games last year, the veteran winger has showed he is ready to become as consistent as he is talented.
Gaborik has started the 2013 season on a solid pace, amassing nine points (six goals and three assists) through the first 11 games of the season.
While those numbers are great for a top-line player, New York needs the winger to be so much more than that; the team needs closer to a point-per-game pace from the skilled scorer.
Prediction: Boston 3, New York 2
Both the Bruins and the Rangers boast wonderful goaltenders—Tuukka Rask and Henrik Lundqvist respectively—and the star goalies will always keep the battles between these two talented clubs close.
Boston has the better defensive unit (led by Zdeno Chara), and while New York has the better top line, the depth of the bench for the Bruins will be the difference maker.
This will be a hard-fought battle with plenty of physical play.