The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins will meet for the final time during this shortened regular season. The two teams have split their first two games with the Bruins taking the season opener 3-1 and the Rangers winning the rematch 4-3 in overtime thanks to a Marian Gaborik hat trick.
Tonight's Rangers are a little different than the team the Bruins face in Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago. This Rangers team has J.T. Miller, Darroll Powe and a little bit more of a swagger.
That confidence will be put to the test tonight, however. The Bruins are one of the NHL's elite. The Rangers were with them during the preseason but dropped off after a slow start. Since that slow start, the Rangers are 5-2 in their last seven games. They've strung together four wins in their last five games and won their last two contests by a combined score of 9-2.
But the Bruins will pose a much bigger test. They're 8-1-1, with one of their two losses coming at the hands of the Rangers. They will have revenge on the mind, sure, but this is about two very good teams going at one another. The Rangers are finally getting their feet under them. John Tortorella has spread out the lines so that offense can come from the top three units. J.T. Miller has injected the spark this team needed at the beginning of the year. Henrik Lundqvist is back to being Henrik Lundqvist.
It will be interesting to see how the Rangers respond to the Bruins. Miller will be tested. Lundqvist will be tested.
The good news? The injury bug has been squashed for the moment. Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi are back, although Brian Boyle is current slotted to sit in the press box.
The Rangers have a swagger. Now let's see if they can keep it going through Boston.