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Rangers aim for third straight win against Bruins; Kreider maybe more than day-to-day

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-bruins-1-15

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

After a two day break following two weekend wins, the Rangers (4-2-0) will aim to extend their win streak to three games when they take on the Boston Bruins (3-3-0) tonight at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers are dealing with a few early injury bugs, forcing them to insert Oscar Lindberg into the lineup ahead of time and place Pavel Buchnevich on IR. Alain Vigneault said that leading scorer Chris Kreider was having “a tough time moving” and that his neck spasms might keep him out longer than day-to-day. Buchnevich is on IR for the time being but has been practicing in a non-contact jersey, so he may be ready for Friday.

The Bruins had a few of their own injuries, having to make two call-ups in net for their game last night against the Wild. Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre both played in Boston’s 5-0 loss. Tuukka Rask may have tweaked his hamstring and Anton Khudobin is out for about three weeks so it’ll probably be those two again tonight.

This is the first of three meetings between the Rangers and the Bruins, and the only game at MSG. Last year New York won two of the three games, and the home team won each time. Five Rangers (Fast, Klein, Miller, Stepan & Zuccarello) tallied three points, the team went 3-for-9 on the power play, and Henrik Lundqvist started all three games, posting a 2.35 GAA and a .935 save percentage.

It looks like rookie Zane McIntyre will get his first career start in goal tonight. He played against the Wild and allowed two goals on 17 shots. In three AHL games this season, he’s allowed just one goal on 137 shots in a total of 137 minutes played.

Brad Marchand signed an eight year contract extension with Boston in September, and so far it looks to be paying off as he has scored nine goals in six games. Marchand emerged as a goal scorer last year, setting a career high in goals (37) and points (60). And he’s playing the same way this season. An instigator, a nuisance, and a talented player, Marchand is one of the league’s hardest players to go up against.

David Pastrnak is off to a hot start in his third season in the league. At just 20 years old, there’s still room to improve. This season is a good sign, as he has scored seven points (4-3-7) in the team’s six games. Playing on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand means he’ll get a lot of good chances tonight.

With two days off, Henrik Lundqvist gets the start. Alain Vigneault missed a prime opportunity to rest him on Sunday and start Antti Raanta. Alas, he did not and Hank is in net tonight. He was solid on Sunday and will look to pick up another win tonight.

Jimmy Vesey will be playing against his hometown Bruins for the first time in his career. Vesey grew up just 30 minutes from Boston and went to Harvard, which is even closer to Boston. Vesey has looked increasingly more comfortable against NHL competition, and is tied for the team lead with three goals, although he could have scored even more. With Kreider out, Vesey might take an even bigger role and I think he’ll score tonight.

Mika Zibanejad enters tonight’s game with a five game point streak against the Bruins (4-1-5), scoring a goal in his last four games. I really love his playstyle and what he’s done so far, but I want to see him start hitting the net with his shots more. He’s been missing the net on the power play and some other instances and I’m sure that’ll even out over time. Hopefully he continues his goal scoring streak tonight.

The Rangers and the Bruins will face off at Madison Square Garden at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on NBCSN.

POTENTIAL LINES (Not Confirmed)

Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

JT Miller-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-Jesper Fast

Brandon Pirri-Oscar Lindberg-Josh Jooris

Ryan McDonagh-Nick Holden

Marc Staal-Kevin Klein

Brady Skjei-Dan Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on October 26, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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