NY Rangers at Boston
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, March 2, 2017
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Mass
BOSTON – (Staff and Wire Service Report from Sports Xchange) – Their momentum slowed by a pair of decisive losses to Metropolitan Division foes, the New York Rangers look to get back on track when they visit the Boston Bruins on Thursday night in a matchup of Original Six rivals. The Rangers dominated the Bruins in two early-season matchups with a pair of 5-2 victories in a 10-day span but Boston has new life since changing head coaches.
New York earned points in 10 of its first 11 games in February (9-1-1), but closed the month with three-goal home losses to Columbus and division-leading Washington. However, playing away from Madison Square Garden hasn’t fazed the Rangers, who own an NHL-best 21-8-0 road record. A change in head coaches has revived the Bruins, who are 7-1-0 since Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien. Sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division, Boston made a move to bolster its offense by acquiring Drew Stafford from Winnipeg for a sixth-round conditional draft pick.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVAS, MSG (New York), NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE RANGERS (40-21-2): New York acquired defenseman Brendan Smith from Detroit on Tuesday in exchange for two draft picks. With defenseman Dan Girardi expected to miss two weeks with a gash on his ankle and Kevin Klein missing his fourth straight game versus Washington, Smith fills a major need. “He’s a player we’ve liked for a while,” Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said. Forward Jesper Fast is expected to be out two to three weeks with an upper-body injury sustained Tuesday.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (33-24-6): Boston’s offense has scored at least four goals on six occasions during the eight-game hot stretch, and adds a veteran presence in Stafford. Although he has tallied four times in 40 games this season, Stafford had 21 goals with Winnipeg last season. “Excited about a player that has the ability to play up and down the lineup, has scoring attributes, has some size and strength, and hopefully will be a good complement to our group,” general manager Don Sweeney said of Stafford.
1. Bruins F Brad Marchand has 11 goals in his last 13 games, but has scored only three times in 23 contests versus New York.
2. Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist can move into a tie with Grant Fuhr for 10th place on the all-time wins list with his 403rd, should he emerge victorious on Thursday.
3. Boston has scored the opening goal in each of its six games.