The New York Rangers will be coming into tonight’s matchup having last played exactly two weeks ago, when they beat a juggernaut in the Florida Panthers, winning 5-2 at home. The Rangers have exceeded expectations this season as New York is firing on all cylinders.
Brilliant offensive play from Chris Kreider, who currently has the most goals scored (33) in the league, along with Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin have the Rangers right where they want to be at this point in the season. On the defensive side, Adam Fox has been lockdown per usual and the Rangers’ man in net, Igor Shesterkin, has the best save percentage in the eastern conference.
On the Bruins’ side, they’ve had a good season but not a great one. They’re undeniably in the playoff race, but they have fewer wins, points, and goals for than the Rangers. Patrice Bergeron, David Pasternak, and Taylor Hall lead Boston on the attack while they have a strong defender in Charlie McAvoy and decent goaltending from Linus Ullmark as longtime Boston goalie Tuukka Rask just recently announced his retirement.
Injuries Affecting Both Teams
On paper and on the rink, the Rangers have been the better team this season. The only questions coming into tonight are the fact that they haven’t played in two weeks, coupled with the continued absence of New York forward Kappo Kakko.
On Boston’s side, they’ve been missing their star left-winger Brad Marchand, who has missed the last six games. Both teams are coming off wins, but the Rangers’ ability to win has been more consistent and generally against better competition.
In the Rangers and Bruins’ only meeting this season back in late November, New York took the Bruins down in Boston, winning five to two on a third period, three goal barrage, while shutting the Bruins down in the third on defense. It’s hard not to take the Rangers to beat Boston again tonight, that said it should be a close game.
The Rangers’ biggest weakness coming into tonight is the fact that they haven’t played in two weeks. That’s not a bad weakness to have as the team is generally healthy with the exception of Kakko. Everything on paper says the Rangers should win this game. It’d be hard to confidently take Boston if you’re going by the numbers.
NHL Betting Preview: The Pick is In
If you’re betting on the game tonight, take the Rangers on the moneyline which stands at -150 for New York as of now. New York will have better puck control, more shots on goal and will create more scoring opportunities than Boston. The fact that they’re playing in MSG and have already beaten the Bruins in Boston should not be discounted by any means.
That said, do not take the Rangers to cover. A good prediction for tonight is that it comes down to the wire and will be a one goal difference in the end. This is a big game between two eastern conference teams in a playoff race and it will be very competitive.
It’s a trickier call when it comes to the over/under, though. The Bruins and Rangers have given up generally fewer goals in comparison with the rest of the eastern conference. They also both have very impressive goalies, with Shesterkin clearly having an edge over almost any opposing goalie this season (New York is fourth in the league at 2.57 goals per game, Boston is eighth in the Eastern Conference at 2.80).
The over/under stands at 5.5 right now and could easily go either way. Defense and goaltending capability will tell the tale of this game. It’s a coin flip when it comes to over/under, but it’s personally difficult not to be inclined toward the over based on the two teams’ only meeting this season.