On Sunday, the Boston Bruins will take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (12:30 p.m ET, NBC) — here’s a look at recent history between the two clubs.
New York: 41-15-7, 1st in Atlantic Division. Leading scorer: Marian Gaborik (31G-26A-57PTS)
Boston: 38-21-3, 1st in Northeast Division. Leading scorer: Patrice Bergeron (19G-34A-53PTS)
New York leads the season series 2-0.
Jan. 12, 2012 -- Rangers 3, Bruins 2 (OT). An otherwise exciting affair was marred by Andrew Ference getting a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct for this hit on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh:
“It was one of the most dangerous hits I’ve seen in a while,” New York head coach Tortorella said. “Nothing needs to be said about what has to be done.”
The hit overshadowed Marian Gaborik snapping New York’s lengthy power-play drought with his overtime winner. The Rangers hadn’t scored a power-play goal in the seven games prior (a total of 15 opportunities) and had just one man-advantage goal since Christmas.
Feb. 14, 2012 -- Rangers 3, Bruins 0. Henrik Lundqvist out-dueled Tim Thomas in the battle of All-Star netminders, turning aside 42 shots for his 42nd career shutout. Thomas, conversely, allowed three goals on 20 shots.
This was a statement victory for the Rangers as they claimed Eastern Conference dominance from the Bruins. With the win, New York opened up a nine point lead on Boston for top spot in the East, prompting Bruins coach Claude Julien to concede the Rangers were the team to beat.
“No doubt, right now they’re playing the best,” Julien said. “They’re playing like we did last year when we were playing well. Right now that’s the identity we’re looking for again.”
New York Rangers forward Brian Boyle — a native of Hingham, Mass. — is a huge Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fan. Yet, as CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty found out, Boyle’s love of New England sports doesn’t extend to the Boston Bruins.
“I hate the Bruins. I hate them with a passion,” Boyle said prior to the Valentine’s day tilt against New York. “That’s how it’s supposed to be, I think, and that’s how it’s been for a while. Last year they won and congratulations to them, but it really made me upset. I was pretty angry about it.”
The B’s-Blueshirts rivalry has been quiet for a while -- the two haven’t met in the postseason since 1973 -- but it appears to have heated up again this season. After the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers both lost their captains (Sidney Crosby and Chris Pronger, respectively) many figured the road through the Eastern Conference would have to go through New York or Boston.
Sunday will go a long way in deciding which road it’ll be.