Tuesday, November 19, 2013
W2W4: Rangers vs. Bruins
By Katie Strang
At a glance: The Rangers hope to recover from Sunday night’s shutout loss to the Kings, and luckily for them star forward Rick Nash has finally received the green light to return. For a team struggling for offense with only three goals in as many games, the Rangers have to be relieved to have one of their most dynamic weapons back in the lineup as they aim to climb above the .500 mark. The Blueshirts host one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday as the Boston Bruins come to Madison Square Garden, and considering what happened last spring, New York will be eager to exact revenge.
Bad blood: There has to be some level of enmity between the Rangers and the Bruins after the Bruins knocked them from the playoffs during the Eastern Conference semifinals back in May. The rivalry clash Tuesday will mark the first time the two teams meet since the Bruins bounced the Blueshirts en route to an appearance in the Stanley Cup final. Boston, coming off a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night, have a chance to pass the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Eastern Conference lead. Both squads are in action Tuesday night with the Bolts squaring off against the Kings.
Sapped of scoring: Speaking of the Kings, they are who blanked the Rangers on Sunday in a stingy effort from newly-anointed starter Ben Scrivens. The Rangers rank 26th in the league with a measly 2.10 goals per game, but they hope the return of Nash bolsters their offense starting tonight.
Proceed with caution: Given Nash’s six-week absence, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he plans to play the winger approximately 15 minutes, assuming no unforeseen changes. Though Vigneault believes Nash to be in good physical condition, he plans to check in on him periodically throughout the game to gauge how he’s feeling. It is not immediately clear who Nash will play with, but he skated Tuesday morning with Brian Boyle and Carl Hagelin.
Still scratched: Embattled defenseman Michael Del Zotto has been scratched for the third straight game. Assuming his spot in the lineup again will be the rugged, physical Justin Falk, who Vigneault said has a "bite" to his game. "Against the Bruins, that’s not a bad thing to have," Vigneault said.