Causeway gameday! Boston Bruins host Blueshirts

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Mats Zuccarello
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Mats Zuccarello /

The Metropolitan Division is a buzzsaw this season.  The Boston Bruins take on the New York Rangers today, their second of three straight Metro Division opponents.

It’s a really good thing that the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals are not in the same division.  The Capitals absolutely own the Bruins right now.  It seems like every game the teams play are never even close anymore.  The same was true in Thursday night’s game, where the Caps beat the Bruins 5-3 in Boston.

Some congratulations are in order.  With his two goals in Thursday’s game, Patrice Bergeron officially passed Bobby Orr on the Bruins all-time goal scoring list.  We wrote a post earlier this season about whether Zdeno Chara will be a hall-of-famer.  Pretty soon, we’ll be writing the same articles for Bergeron.

Even with the loss, the Bruins are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games and still remain 3rd in the Atlantic Division at 15-10-4, 34 points with several games in hand over the Toronto Maple Leafs who sit above them.  Coming to Boston today are the New York Rangers, who currently sit in the first wild card spot at 17-12-3, 37 points.

Boston Bruins

The Bruins are almost back to full strength with Ryan Spooner coming off injured reserve.  Spooner’s activation led to the waiving and demotion of NHL veteran Matt Beleskey who had mightily struggled the last season plus.  The Bruins will need all the help they can get taking on a team in New York that has to fight for every point in the stacked Metro.

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Want to know how crazy the Metro Division is?  The defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins are currently on the outside of the playoffs looking in, at 16-14-3, 35 points.  Boy, I think everyone outside the Western half of Pennsylvania would love to see that happen.


ALERT!  ALERT!  The gametime for tonight’s game at the TD Garden in Boston, MA is 5:00 pm, not your traditional 7:00 pm puck drop.  The game will be televised on NESN for the local viewers and 98.5 The Sports Hub for the local listeners.

What to watch for

This matchup pits a good home team in the Bruins (9-5-2) against a bad road team in the Rangers (4-7-0).  The Bruins have a very heavy home schedule in the first half of the season (23 home, 18 away), so getting points when you have home ice advantage will help when the tables turn in the second half of the season.

There’s no word yet as to whether Spooner will suit up for the Bruins tonight.  Our beat reporter Dan Watkins was in the presser with head coach Bruce Cassidy yesterday, and the team is taking a cautious approach to Spooner’s return.  If he does come back, it could be at wing or center, and that’s where Cassidy’s decision becomes difficult.  If he comes in, someone goes out.  Who sits?  Could be Anders Bjork.

Tuukka Rask will be making the start tonight.  The goalie issues in Boston is completely put to bed at this point.  Rask’s numbers have all gone down, while Anton Khudobin’s numbers have climbed.  Rask is 5-0-0 in his last five starts, and has a 2.41 GAA with a .914 save percentage.

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In terms of the Rangers, the team is only missing Mika Zibanejad, their fourth leading scorer with 22 points (11-11).  Otherwise, the team is healthy and always brings their best against Boston.  The Rangers previously beat the Bruins this season in a game where the team just didn’t show up, a theme that was prevalent earlier this season.