“It’s a power play goal!” -Sam Rosen, MSG Networks
The overarching theme in the Rangers’ 5-3 win over Columbus Monday night was the potent power play, good for three third period goals, which turned a loss into a win.
Center Mika Zibanejad was quick to point out after the game, that their four-game winning streak has allowed the team to build confidence, and he hopes that it carries over into tonight’s game against Boston.
It also helps that the Rangers have become one of the best third period teams in the NHL, as they have erupted for two four-goal third period outbursts during this win streak. And if you look back further, the 7th Avenue Skaters have scored 20 third period goals during the early part of this season.
It is that type of comeback ability that develops a team’s identity and builds chemistry.
Their meeting with the Bruins tonight is the first matchup between these Original Six franchises this season and is the 644th contest all-time — the Rangers most against any opponent — with the Blueshirts being 255-289-97-2 in those encounters.
The Bruins have 15 points in 13 games, the Rangers 16 in 16. And while the Blueshirts have struggled at times, they have been healthy, something that the Bruins cannot claim.
Boston’s injury report includes: David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Ryan Spooner, David Backes, Noel Acciari, Adam McQuaid and Anton Khudobin. This makes it even more remarkable that the B’s are as high as they are in the standings.
The Rangers have won four straight and five-out-of-six, so it’s safe to say that the Boys in Blue have settled in after their early season struggles.
They have scored 27 goals over that stretch, which is good for 4.5 goals per game.
The Bruins meanwhile are 3-1-2 in their last six and have only surrendered 13 goals over that stretch.
With the Bruins stinginess in net, and the Rangers hot-scoring somethings bound to give.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
BRUINS: CHARLIE MCAVOY. The young Bruins rookie will experience a homecoming of sorts when he sets his skates on MSG ice. Hailing from Long Beach, Long Island — where the Rangers once practiced — this 19-year old Dman is tied for his team’s lead among defenseman with eight points through 13 games.
RANGERS: MIKA ZIBANEJAD. With 10 points in his last six games, “Magic Mika,” is the hottest Ranger. Plus he’s justifying the faith management had in him when they locked him up with a long-term contract over the summer.
WHERE TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast on NBCSN at 8pm ET. And for in-game coverage check out our Twitter account @NYRBlueBulletin.
The home club’s lineup should remain the same, with the possibility that flu-ridden Boo Nieves replaces Paul Carey.
As for Brendan Smith, his problem isn’t the flu. The defender has been a press box-sitter ever since Halloween. Look for him to force his way back into the lineup sooner rather than later as he’s too good to just sit around.