New York Rangers: 3 Keys to Beating the Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins head to Madison Square Garden on Thursday night New York Rangers, in a battle that has a lot of firepower. Boston currently sits atop the NHL standings with 74 points and a 35-5-4 record, while the Rangers sit third in the tightly contested Metropolitan Division with 57 points and a 25-13-7 record. Beating the league’s best team is a tall order, but the Rangers will look to exact revenge for a 5-2 loss to the Bruins on Nov. 3.

Gerard Gallant’s team has been off since Monday, when they Columbus beat the Blue Jackets 3-1. They will be a more rested team on Thursday, as Pete DeBoer’s squad is coming off a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night. The matchup with the Rangers will also be their third game in four nights.

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A Battle with the Bruins The game will be an indicator of sorts for the Rangers, to see if they are ready to compete with the league’s best this season. It won’t be easy for the Blueshirts, as the Bruins are 5-1-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. They find a way to win, and for Rangers, they need to play close to 60 minutes to come away with two points.

Here are three keys for the Rangers to beat the big, bad Bruins.

Key 1: The Rangers need to get the power play rolling

The Rangers’ power play has been terrible in the last six games. They are currently 2-for-19 on the man advantage, but scored a power-play goal in Monday’s win. Scored the goal through net-front redirection Berkeley Goodrow and a second unit of Rangers. The first unit was nothing special, failing to create the high-danger chances that fans saw earlier in the season.

In the 2022–23 NHL season, the Rangers have 134 high-danger prospects on the power play, fourth most among all teams. Per natural stat trick. They are second in expected goals at 41.15, but 14th in power-play goals with just 32. You might say they’ve been bitten by snakes, but of late, they haven’t clicked at the human advantage.

The Bruins’ penalty kill ranks first in the NHL at 86.7%. They pressure the puck and don’t allow it to go through the seam, which is the Rangers’ preferred method of attack. Boston will be ahead of most teams statistically in almost every aspect of the game, but the Rangers will need to win the special teams battle to have success on Thursday night.

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The power play requires more movement, more shots and less predictability from the Rangers. If they stay put, the Bruins’ penalty kill will have a field day picking off passes and clearing the puck all night.

Key 2: Chris Kreider’s impact after returning to the lineup

The Rangers winger after a three-match absence with an upper-body injury Chris Kreider Will return to the lineup against the Bruins. His return reunites the top line of Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Kapo Kakko, a trio that produced numerous five-on-five chances, and looks like the Rangers’ best line grouping of the season.

Chris Kreider Rangers
By Chris Kreider, New York Rangers, 22 Mar. 2018 (Amy Irvine / hockey writer)

Kreider’s net-front presence will also impact the aforementioned power play, returning to his usual spot in front of the net for the man advantage.

Since Kreider went down, the Rangers’ offense hasn’t looked complete, largely because of Alexis Lafrenier is struggling to step into a top-line role And the lack of scoring depth that came with the lineup changes. The veteran forward has 19 goals and 30 points this season. While not on the 52-goal pace we saw a season ago, Kreider is still on pace to score nearly 40 goals this season, which would make it two consecutive 30-plus goal seasons after failing to reach that milestone the first eight years. His career.

Against a big, physical team like the Bruins, it would be nice to have Kreider back in the lineup. At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, his blend of speed and strength allows him to forecheck and create offensive opportunities for the Rangers. He has also been a key penalty killer over the past two seasons, greatly improving his defensive game since receiving increased responsibilities.

Kreider is a leader for the Rangers, and if he is dominant in his return, the Rangers will get a big boost against the Bruins on Thursday night.

Key 3: Rangers need Vezina Igor Shesterkin

Igor Shesterkin has been solid this season, but he hasn’t played at the same level a year ago en route to the Vezina Trophy. He has a 20-7-6 record on the season, with a 2.43 goals-against average (GAA) and a .918 save percentage (SV%). Amazingly, he has just one shutout on the season, which occurred on November 1 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

You can’t beat a team like the Bruins with average goaltending, and the Rangers will need Shesterkin to steal this game. If he can play at an elite level for 60 minutes, the Rangers have to fancy their chances against the Bruins.

Igor Shesterkin New York Rangers
Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers (Amy Irvine / hockey writer)

The problem this season has been the lack of consistency in Shesterkin’s play on a night-to-night basis. Boston will create chances, and Shesterkin will need to be sharp to keep the Rangers afloat. It’s no secret that the Blueshirt defense can leak at times, and good teams like the Bruins tend to expose those weak spots.

The Vezina winner at home has a 2.63 GAA and .908 SV% this season. Those numbers are in stark contrast to the 2.12 GAA and .931 SV% he played on the road. The Rangers will need Shesterkin’s road split to get into MSG tonight for the Gallants to beat the Bruins.

The puck drops Thursday night at 7:08 PM ET at Madison Square Garden. It all made for a great hockey game, as the Rangers looked to hand the Bruins their sixth regulation loss of the season.


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