After a two-week hiatus, the Rangers are back in action to take on the shorthanded Boston Bruins (7:00 P.M. EST, MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsBruins
7thNHL Standing Rank14th


               The Blueshirts are finally back in action after not playing a game in two weeks. This was due to the all-star break and the team not having as many make-up games as other teams. In fact, Tuesday night’s game is a game that has been moved up from the end of the year as part of the schedule being revised.

               The break came at the right time as the Rangers were dealing with key players out of the lineup. Players include reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox, Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, and Patrik Nemeth. All but Kakko are expected to return to the lineup against the Bruins. Kakko is expected to be out for at least a month according to head coach Gerard Gallant.

               With Kakko expected to miss an extended period of time, Alexis Lafreniere will likely get a long look inside the Rangers’ top six. The Rangers are currently short two right-wingers including Sammy Blais being out for the season. The Blueshirts are expected to start Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow on the right side against Boston.  

               Looking to have a big game against the Bruins will be Artemi Panarin. Panarin and Bruins forward Brad Marchand had an altercation in the dying seconds of garbage time where Marchand allegedly verbally abused Panarin. These actions led to Panarin throwing his glove at Marchand across benches. Panarin was fined by the NHL for his actions.

               Igor Shesterkin is expected to get the start in goal following a long rest period. Shesterkin is having a season to remember and is currently one of the front runners to win the Vezina Trophy.


               The Bruins will enter this game being shorthanded among their big guns. Marchand, who was slated to be on the ice with Panarin for the first time since November is currently serving a six-game suspension after sucker-punching Pittsburgh’s goaltender Tristan Jarry. What made Marchand’s suspension even more damaging was the fact that Boston lost captain Patrice Bergeron to an upper-body injury and likely concussion issues earlier in the game against the Penguins. Bergeron has been skating in non-contact jerseys following the incident. With Bergeron not expected to play, the Bruins will be short two first-line forwards.

               Just because the Bruins will be missing two key forwards doesn’t mean they can’t hurt you. Boston still has strong firepower including former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak. Hall and Pastrnak are the two highest point scorers on the Bruins that will be playing in Tuesday night’s game. If the Rangers can shut down this duo, the Blueshirts will give themselves a fantastic chance at winning the game.

               On defense, Boston has Charlie McAvoy who often goes under the radar when comparing the best defensemen in the league. McAvoy, who grew up a Rangers fan, is one of the best shutdown defensemen in the NHL and is a vital part of the Bruins organization. McAvoy also has 28 points on the season to go with his stellar defensive play.

               Jeremy Swayman will get the nod in goal for Boston. Swayman has had an outstanding season and is establishing himself as more than an NHL-caliber goaltender. The 23-year-old has a .919 save percentage to go with a 2.22 goals-against average on the season. Swayman was sent down to the AHL for a portion of the season to help make room for the returning Tuukka Rask. However, Rask’s comeback didn’t last long and he ultimately retired.

Keys to the Game

               The key to the game for the Rangers is to play confidently and come out flying early in the first period. One thing to look for is will the Blueshirts be rusty? Having not played in a game in two weeks, New York could find themselves a little hesitant early on. Playing with confidence and using the long rest to their advantage could make for a long night for the Bruins. With the two sides only separated by seven points, the Blueshirts will be looking to take advantage of Boston missing two of their top forwards.

Projected Lineup









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