The Rangers can take another step closer to making the playoffs if they keep the Boston Bruins at bay tomorrow night.
With a nail-biter shootout victory over the Flyers on Sunday afternoon, the Rangers (89 pts.) racked up two much needed points. They have a two point lead over the ninth place Carolina Hurricanes (87 pts.) who lost in overtime to the seventh place Sabres (90 pts.) The victory over the Flyers snapped a two game losing skid.
Whenever the Bruins and Rangers meet, it tends to be “stressful.” All three matches this season have been decided by one goal. The Rangers won 1-0 in Boston on March 26 and lost 3-2 in New York in November. Henrik Lundqvist will need to remain in top form for the Blueshirts in net if they are to send the Garden Faithful home smiling with a victory.
While they sit on opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standing spectrum, both the B’s and Rangers’ play in March has been strong. The Rangers are 7-2-1 in their last ten, while the B’s are 6-2-2.
Struggling winger Michael Ryder helped the Bruins clinch the Northeast Division crown on Saturday with a third period penalty shot goal against the Atlanta Thrashers. The win doesn’t necessarily mean the B’s will loosen up though. They are four points behind the Flyers for first place bragging rights.
Just because the Rangers’ last three games of the season are at home and two of them are against non-playoff teams, they cannot take their foot off the gas pedal. The Dubinsky-Callahan duo along with Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal must continue full speed ahead.
Get McHappy: Ryan McDonagh leads the team with a +17 rating which means the rookie defenseman tends to be on the ice for goals scored rather than goals given up. That’s a good sign for the future of the Rangers’ blue line. He logged almost 22 minutes of ice time on Sunday. Veteran defenseman Bryan McCabe stepped up at the point on Sunday. With less than a second left in the first period, McCabe fired home a tying goal on a 5-on-3 power play. He has five points in 15 games since being traded to the Rangers.
The last time…the New York Rangers won 24 road games in a season, they won the Stanley Cup to end a 54-year drought.
Calder Conversation: Bruins’ rookie forward Brad Marchand has two goals and four assists in his last six games. His golf-swing taunt following his shorthanded goal on the fickle Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday pushed the wrong buttons and rubbed Coach Claude Julien the wrong way. Especially since the Leafs rallied to tie the game and go on to win in a shootout. Marchand, who is in the top ten among rookies in goals, points and +/- rating, demonstrated he still has room to grow.
Rangers vs. Bruins
Madison Square Garden, 7:30 p.m.
Rangers’ record: 42-32-5
Bruins’ record: 44-23-11