Rangers Bruins Hockey

Tale of the Tape: Rangers vs. Bruins

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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.”

Rivalry Reborn?

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.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Video: Kuznetsov sets table for Vrana’s first NHL goal

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Jakub Vrana of the Washington Capitals poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).

Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.

See it for yourself:

Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.

He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.

Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.

Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:

Kulikov returns to increasingly healthy Sabres lineup

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Dmitry Kulikov #77 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.

The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?

He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.

Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.

With Foligno out sick, Columbus gives Bjorkstrand another shot

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets lines up for a face-off during the game against the Boston Bruins on October 13, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.

He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.

With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.

Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?

Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: