One of the NHL Eastern Conference Playoff semifinals begins tonight between the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins. Tonight's game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network. Currently the odds for the game have the Bruins as a small favorite to win the game.
Both Boston and New York won incredible series' last round. By now we all know how the Bruins were able to come back from a 4-1 deficit in Game 7 with less than 10 minutes left. Somehow they won. Now they'll have to restart their engines and get ready for a New York team that is also coming in off a high. The Rangers faced elimination twice and won both games against the Capitals.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is a dominant player and he is going to be the key to this series. Certainly New York and Boston don't like each other and Lundqvist is going to have to keep the Rangers alive. Boston's Patrice Bergeron is on fire right now, scoring the game-tying and OT series clinching win against Toronto the other day.
New York's pairing of Ryan McDonagh and Ryan Callahan have played well so far in the playoffs. While they don't play the same position they have been on the ice quite a bit during the opening series. Boston's David Krejci leads the Bruins with five goals scored to this point and he'll be looking to keep the Bruins afloat in this game tonight.
Boston does play well in home games, going 16-5-3 on home ice this season. New York was not a good road team, sporting a record of just 10-12-2 on the year. But which team will show up tonight? Both have exuded a lot of energy to this point but the team that stays out of the box in this game will be good to go.
Tuukka Rask has saved better than 92 percent of the shots against him for Boston in the Toronto series. He's an aggressive guy in net but reports out of Boston today could be tough for him. Defenseman Andrew Ference missed Games 6 and 7 against Toronto, Wade Redden also didn't play in Game 7 and Dennis Seidenberg played just 37 seconds of the finale. None of them practiced Thursday. That could put more pressure on Rask in this one.
Here's another head-scratcher. Leading goal scorers Rick Nash and Boston's Brad Marchand have not scored in the playoffs to this point.
Free Pick: Boston 3, New York 2
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