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BSB Preview: Rangers vs Bruins

Boston will be a big test for the Blueshirts

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A brown bear (Ursus arctos) roaring pictured in its... Photo by Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tonight, at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers host the Boston Bruins for some Original Six hockey between a team on the rise and a team that didn’t seem to get the memo on aging curves. The hockey begins at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Boston is off to an explosive 9-1-0 start that includes a +19 goal-differential and a 6-0-0 record on home ice. But guess what, losers — the Bruins are on the road tonight and they are 3-1-0 wearing white jerseys so slurp down that chowder and save some room for a spoonful of Igor.

Seriously though, this team is going to be a problem.

Let’s call this game what it is — a serious test for the Rangers. Coming into tonight, Boston is averaging 4.4 GF/GP and are on par with the Rangers in xGF% at 5-on-5. They’ve been strong on special teams and Linus Ullmark hasn’t lost a game. The Bruins are confident, healthier than they were when the season started, and have one of the best lines in hockey. If the Rangers fourth line or the third d-pair is on the ice at the wrong time things will get ugly in a hurry.

Both Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak are averaging at least 1.0 Pts/GP — which is quite good in a 10-game sample — and Boston’s goalies have a combined .918 saving percentage (.917 Sv% at 5-on-5, per Natural Stat Trick). In other words, Boston is firing on all cylinders right now. Oh, and Brad Marchand somehow miraculously recovered months ahead of schedule from a serious injury. We have scientists trying to get to the bottom of this, but all they’ve uncovered thus far is pile of dead rats in the sewers under his home that appear to have been drained of their life force.

The Rangers are coming off of a nearly unbelievable 1-0 overtime win over the Flyers and the Bruins are here riding a six-game winning streak. Only one team is going to leave the Garden with their winning streak intact after 60 minutes or more of hockey. I don’t know about you, but there is something that feels significant about this one and it’s not just because the Blueshirts will be wearing their liberty jerseys.

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