Streaking Rangers out to stop host Bruins

Even without key players, the Boston Bruins have shown of late how dangerous their offense can be. The New York Rangers are well aware, having found out in their most recent meeting.

But the Rangers are in a much better place now as they travel to Boston to face the Bruins on Friday afternoon. New York has won three straight and four of its past five compared to the 1-5-1 stretch it was on capped by the loss to Boston in their first meeting Oct. 27.

In that contest, the Rangers held a 1-0 lead after one period before the Bruins scored four times in the second and three in the third in a 7-4 loss that left New York scratching its head afterward as to what went wrong.

“It’s hard to figure out right now,” said Henrik Lundqvist, who was pulled after two periods in net that night. “We had a 1-0 lead after the first. … We came out in the second, and we weren’t even close.”

Boston has that kind of ability, evidenced Tuesday in an 8-1 road rout of the rival Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins have scored at least five goals three times during a five-game winning streak, though it took two in the third period to put away a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.

“We weren’t clean with the puck early on,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said after the win. “… It took us awhile to sort of get to our game, where we could get through there and establish a little something. But eventually we got there, and it took everybody. We found a way to win.”

Everybody hasn’t included Patrice Bergeron the past two games. The top-line center sat out the team’s short road trip with a recurrence of a lower-body injury, and his status for Friday has yet to be determined.

Bergeron had a hat trick when the Bruins and Rangers met last month. He’s one of more than a handful of Boston players currently dealing with injury, though his usual linemates David Pastrnak (league-leading 23 goals, 16 assists) and Brad Marchand (18 goals, 25 assists) have exhibited no signs of slowing despite the hardship.

Returning from injury for the Rangers on Wednesday was center Mika Zibanejad, who scored in his first game back after missing 13 games with an upper-body injury. Lundqvist had 41 saves as New York edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

“Our whole lineup looks different when you have him in it,” Rangers coach David Quinn said of Zibanejad. “He gives us swagger, but he also gives us a lot of depth. It’s amazing what one center can do to your whole lineup. The lineup looks a lot longer and a lot deeper.”

The Bruins have won three of their past five games against the Rangers and will visit them again in February. Boston remains the only team in the league still undefeated in regulation at home (9-0-4).

-Field Level Media

Source: Yahoo Sports

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