The good news for the Bruins is that the taste of Thursday’s Uniondale Horror won’t have to sit with them for too long, as Friday comes with a shift to Manhattan for a Friday night head-to-head with the Rangers.
“I think it’ll be good for us,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of the bounce-back opportunity in front of the Bruins. “We did have a positive experience out in Tahoe, so I think that’s still fresh in the minds of guys. I don’t think it’s like we’re down. We had a lousy 20 minutes [Thursday]. Otherwise going into the third period, I thought we were right there — maybe even the better team — through 40 minutes. So the end of the day we gotta flush that, learn from it.”
This may be the perfect opponent for the Bruins to do just that, too, with their third of eight meetings with the Blueshirts in 2021, and with tempers at a relatively strong level in both meetings. The scoreboard has favored the Bruins in both meetings to date as well, with the Bruins capturing victories in both head-to-heads to date, including a 1-0 win back on Feb. 12.
The Rangers are also entering this contest without forward Kaapo Kakko and defenseman K’Andre Miller due to COVID-19 issues, still without defenseman Jacob Trouba (broken thumb), and with superstar wing Artemi Panarin away from the team due to a personal leave of absence.
“I think the other part is guys want to get back on it,” said Cassidy. “They don’t like to let a period like that linger for very long. So that’s the positive part about the back-to-back.”
Tuukka Rask will get the call in the B’s net.
Rask is 7-2-1 with a .901 save percentage on the year, and comes into action with a 10-8-4 record and .921 save percentage in 24 career games against the Rangers.
New York will counter with Alexandar Georgiev. The 25-year-old has a 2-2-2 record and .893 save percentage on the season. Georgiev stopped 29-of-32 shots in an overtime loss to the B’s on Feb. 10.
The Bruins have won four straight road games against the Rangers dating back to Oct. 2019. Another win and it’ll be the Black and Gold’s longest road win streak at Madison Square Garden since a five-game run from Dec. 1981 through Oct. 1984.
Here are the complete lines and pairings for the B’s…
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Jack Studnicka – Anders Bjork
Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith
Trent Frederic – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Urho Vaakanainen – Charlie McAvoy
Jakub Zboril – Brandon Carlo
John Moore – Connor Clifton