Bruins at Rangers Picks
By Adam Markowitz
It will be a battle of Original Six teams on Wednesday night when the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers clash in historic Madison Square Garden. If the postseason started right now, both teams would miss the playoffs, but Boston has played three less games than New York. The last time these two sides met, the Rangers scored a 2-1 victory in MSG but that was last season. This is the first of three meetings this year.
Boston Bruins at New York Rangers
Date and Time: Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
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Bruins at Rangers TV Coverage: NBCSN
The Bruins must be wondering when their luck will change. Boston has ended regulation tied in three of its last six games, but ended up losing every game in either overtime or a shootout. The team still got a point from the game, yet missing out on two is huge. These things typically even out over the course of the season and the Bruins have to be wondering when that will change.
New York has thrived in the extra period. The Rangers are near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, but have won three in a row to make up some ground on the other teams. The last two were big overtime wins that came during a Sunshine State road trip. New York was an underdog to both Tampa Bay and Florida but pulled four points out of that swing and that has to have this team feeling good.
Player to Watch
Henrik Lundqvist is no longer a premier goaltender. His numbers have fallen off considerable in each of the last two seasons and it’s time to start considering him on the downslope of his career. Lundqvist was one of the best netminders the NHL had to offer for about a decade. He was phenomenal earlier this decade, not finishing with a save percentage below .920 in any season. However, last season, saw his save percentage fall to .910 and it is even worse thus far.
Through 12 starts, Lundqvist has a .902 save percentage and is averaging over three goals a game for the first time ever. Some of this is the result of defensive woes, but Lundqvist has been allowing some bad goals too. His agility is not what it used to be and that’s not good news for the Rangers.
Boston has been fantastic on special teams this season, using that to gain an advantage on opponents. The Bruins are fourth in the NHL in power play percentage, converting on 27.9 percent of their opportunities. Rather than one person dominating the scoring on the man advantage, everyone is getting involved too. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have five points each, but David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron are right behind them with four points.
Additionally, this team has been solid on the penalty kill. The Bruins have killed off 87 percent of their opponents’ power plays this season thanks to some great forechecking from their forwards. All too often, the defensemen are given the credit or the blame for a team’s penalty kill, but Boston’s front line has really helped matters in this area.
Conversely, the Rangers have a middle of the pack penalty kill and an above average power play.
Bruins at Rangers Free Picks
Both teams have a game on Monday night prior to this one. The Bruins will be hosting a Minnesota Wild team that is not off to the blazing start it was last year, while the Rangers will be hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets. There isn’t a lot of distance between these two cities, so fatigue and travel won’t be factors.
I really like Boston in this spot. Lundqvist has not looked sharp this year, but you will still be able to get Boston as an underdog because the game is in MSG. Look for the Bruins to notch a comfortable victory on enemy ice.
Bruins at Rangers Pick: Jump on the Bruins as an underdog in New York
Bruins at Rangers Score Prediction: Bruins 4 – Rangers 1