BOSTON -- Let the hatred begin.
While there may be mutual respect between the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers, don’t be fooled by the gentlemen-like hockey mentality. This Eastern Conference semifinal series will be a fierce battle.
These Original Six teams haven’t faced each other in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 1973. During that 40-year span, the Red Sox and Yankees, Patriots and Giants, and Celtics and Knicks have produced plenty of classic games.
Now it’s time for the Bruins and Rangers to add to this Boston-New York rivalry.
“Another New York-Boston series,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic. “Red Sox-Yankees, Patriots-Giants. And the Celtics just played the Knicks. There’s a lot of hatred between these two cities and we’re looking forward to the series.”
The Bruins and Rangers match up well. Both teams play similar styles. Both are strong and physical, and have solid goaltenders. Unlike the young defensive core for the Maple Leafs, the Rangers have more of a veteran presence on the blue line. Offensively, both teams will attempt to make their marks in front of the net with their respective size and strength.
“These guys, they play like us,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.
In goal, the Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist, who is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. He has enjoyed success against the Bruins in his career, posting a 21-7-2 record along with a 1.67 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage. This season, he was 2-1-0 with a 2.93 GAA and a .913 save percentage against the Bruins.
“He’s a big goalie. He’s been really good against us. You’ve got to move him around. You’ve got to get traffic. You’ve got to get pucks on him. There’s no magic to it,” Chiarelli said. “You just have to have the commitment to do that. He’s played us tough, though, and it’s kind of different than who we faced.”