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Bruins-Rangers Preview: Early Edition

I'm going to the game, so I won't have time to write a preview tomorrow morning. Hopefully, not much changes between now and game time. Without further ado, here is your early edition game preview:

The Bruins can clinch the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a win or an overtime/shootout loss against the New York Rangers in Saturday's matinee at the TD Banknorth Garden. The Bruins are currently riding a five game win streak, while the Rangers are fighting to hold on to the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers will look to bounce back from a 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

Just who are these Rangers you speak of?
New York Rangers 40-29-9 (89 pts); 4th in Atlantic, 8th in East

Leading Goal Scorers

G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Nik Antropov 27 30 57 -16 30

G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Nikolai Zherdev 23 34 57 7 39

G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Markus Naslund 23 20 43 -13 55

2008 - Henrik Lundqvist 66 3914 35 24 7 3 162 2.48 1889 1727 .914 3

2008 - Stephen Valiquette 15 823 5 5 2 2 39 2.84 421 382 .907 1

Guys Who Like to Drop the Gloves
Colton Orr: 18 Fighting Majors, 193 PIMs
Aaron Voros: 10 Fighting Majors, 122 PIMs

'08-'09 Season Series
Bruins record vs. NYR: 1-1-1
11/15 @ NYR 3-2 SO LOSS
1/31 vs. NYR 1-0 WIN
3/8 @ NYR 4-3 LOSS

Injury Report

LW Marco Sturm: IR/Out for Season (Knee)
F Phil Kessel: Out (Undisclosed Injury)
LW Shawn Thornton: Out (Undisclosed Injury)

New York Rangers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Michal Rozsival leg 04/03/2009

Current Bruins Lines & D-Pairs


Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Michael Ryder
Mark Recchi - Patrice Bergeron - Chuck Kobasew
P.J. Axelsson - Marc Savard - Blake Wheeler
  Matt Hunwick- Stephane Yelle - Byron Bitz

Zdeno Chara - Aaron Ward
Andrew Ference - Dennis Wideman
Shane Hnidy - Mark Stuart



Rangers Projected Lines & D-Pairs

Sean Avery - Scott Gomez - Ryan Callahan
Nik Antropov - Chris Drury - Nikolai Zherdev
Markus Naslund - Brandon Dubinsky - Fredrik Sjostrom
Lauri Korpikoski - Blair Betts - Colton Orr

Wade Redden - Derek Morris
Marc Staal - Dan Girardi
Paul Mara - Michal Rozsival


- This will be Sean Avery's first trip to the TD Banknorth Garden since the fight-filled game against the Dallas Stars back on November 1st. Avery collected 21 penalty minutes for the Stars that night.

- Henrik Lundvist has been a Bruins killer over the course of his NHL career. Lundvist is 10-2-2 with 3 shutouts, a GAA of 1.45, and a save percentage of .949 lifetime against the Bruins.

- Tim Thomas has a press conference scheduled for 10:00 AM Saturday morning to formally announce his contract extension with the Bruins.

- Phil Kessel and Shawn Thornton will sit out again with undisclosed injury (that seems to be going around a lot lately with this team).

- The Rangers have the best penalty kill in the league (88%), but have the second worst power play in the NHL (14%).

- I will be at the game but the public skate (open thread) will go on as scheduled starting at noon.

- For more on the Rangers, check out Blueshirt Banter (a great new addition to the SBN hockey team).

A lot of people think that Manny Fernandez lost the game for the Bruins the last time they played the Rangers, but I place the blame squarely on this dog for jinxing them: