The New York Rangers have won two in a row in games they probably didn’t deserve to win against mediocre opponents. Tonight they face one of their fellow playoff teams in the Boston Bruins, a team that has given them fits for a while now. Some blame it on the Bs size, I blame it on their stifling defense and all-world goalie Tuukka Rask.
It’s not boys amongst men when the Rangers play, it’s Boston executing Claude Julien’s systems to a T, and the Rangers unable to mount any sustained offense. The lazy narrative is size though, so it plays. And yes, the Bruins are bigger. But the Rangers are faster and more skilled. These are teams the Rangers usually eat alive, but the Bs have the Rangers number, as shown by their 3-0 blanking last month.
What have they done lately?
The Bruins are red hot right now, going 8-1-1 in their last ten to secure a comfortable cushion in the wild card race on the Florida Panthers. At this point, the Bs are a playoff team and they aren’t looking back. They’ve done so by getting back to basics and maintaining puck possession after spending most of the season under 50% FF. They are the yellow/black line below, the Rangers are the blue line.
It helps that they’ve been riding a bit of a hot streak from Rask, which has spiked their PDO to over 103. Their SH% in this span is about 8%-9%, which is also pretty high, but those are the peaks and valleys you expect throughout a season.
The Bruins have had the same style of play for years under Claude Julien. They play an aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck early in the period and then switch to a more conservative 1-4 or 1-1-3 lock later in the period if they have a lead. In the defensive zone, the Bs play a low zone collapse and try to defend you in layers depending on puck location. On special teams, the Bruins use an umbrella power play and a wedge+1/diamond force penalty kill where they try to pressure for turnovers.
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg-Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Tuukka Rask is in net.
PK: Stepan, Nash, Girardi, Staal, Moore, Fast, Hunwick, Boyle, Hagelin, Klein, McDonagh, MSL
Cam Talbot is in net.
Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 8pm on NBCSN.