Open Game Thread: Rangers vs. Bruins
Rangers return home, hoping to end three-game skid.
The New York Rangers (25-23-5, 55 points) return to Madison Square Garden after a two game road trip to take on the Boston Bruins (32-11-8, 72 points).
The Rangers are looking to end a three-game losing streak that started at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-0 loss), then continued in Nashville (5-2 loss) and Dallas (2-1 loss). While the Rangers are only three points out of the second wild card seed, they're also at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division.
The Bruins, on the other hand, are trending in the other direction. Their 72-point season so far has landed them in second place in the Atlantic Division, three points behind the first place Tampa Bay Lightning with two games in hand.
This is the third and final meeting of the Rangers and Bruins this season. The Rangers have won both matchups so far; first with a 4-2 win at home in November, then with a 3-2 overtime win in December in Boston.
Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start in goal for the Blueshirts. So far this season, he has a 21-16-4 record, a 0.919 save percentage, and 6.26 5-on-5 goals saved above average. For the Bruins, backup Anton Khudobin will be in net. He's appeared in 18 games this season, earning a 10-3-4 record, 0.924 save percentage, and 6.68 5-on-5 GSAA.
The Rangers are still without Jimmy Vesey, Marc Staal, Pavel Buchnevich, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Chris Kreider. There's one change up front for the Rangers from the last game – Vinni Lettieri is set to skate on the second line with J.T. Miller and David Desharnais, while Jesper Fast slots into the third line with Michael Grabner and Kevin Hayes. On defense, there may be some changes as well. Anthony DeAngelo could be promoted to the first pair with Ryan McDonagh, while Nick Holden moves down to the second pair with Brady Skjei. The third pair pair would then consist of Brendan Smith and Steven Kampfer.
NYR: Nash-Zibanejad-Zuccarello, Grabner-Hayes-Fast, Miller-Desharnais-Lettieri, McLeod-Holland-Carey; McDonagh-DeAngelo, Skjei-Holden, Smith-Kampfer; Lundqvist in starters net.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) February 7, 2018
The most notable change for the Bruins tonight is Brad Marchand returning to the lineup after his five-game suspension.