NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Rangers look to win season series

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NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Boston Bruins host the New York Rangers at the TD Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET.

We’re only a quarter of the way through the shortened season, but the Rangers and Bruins are already gearing up for the third and final contest of their 2013 series.

They started the season together with Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and Boston’s defense doing a superb job of marginalizing the Rangers’ new top-heavy offense en route to a 3-1 win for Boston. However, when they met again on Jan. 23, Rangers forward Marian Gaborik had a hat trick to help his team earn a 4-3 overtime victory.

Through 10 games, the Rangers are just one of two teams to best the Boston Bruins, but things haven’t gone nearly as well in New York. The Rangers struggled early this season and have a troubling 2-4-0 record against their Atlantic Division counterparts.

The Rangers have found success recently, but they’ve done it by beating the slumping Tampa Bay Lightning twice and the 14th place New York Islanders’ once. If the Rangers want to prove that they’ve moved past their initial slump, they’ll have to start winning big games like tonight’s.

Meanwhile, the only pressure the Boston Bruins feel comes from the desire to keep a good thing going. They have an 8-1-1 record and are on a three-game winning streak. Rask rose to the status of starting goaltender after two-time Vezina Trophy-winner Tim Thomas decided to take a year off and so far he’s given Bruins’ fans no reason to regret Thomas’ departure.

Still, the Rangers are one of the few teams to solve Rask recently, so he’ll be looking for revenge at the same time that the Rangers are seeking momentum.

Probable goaltenders: BOS – Rask (6-1-1, 1.96 GAA, .922 SV%) | NYR – Henrik Lundqvist (5-5-0, 2.44 GAA, .911 SV%)

Top scorers: BOS – David Krejci (3-7-10, 10 GP) | NYR – Gaborik, Rick Nash, and Brad Richards are tied with nine points in 11 games.

Notable Injuries:
Boston – Forwards: Marc Savard (concussion)
New York – Defensemen: Michael Sauer (concussion)

Rangers’ losing streak continues with OT defeat vs. Penguins

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The New York Rangers needed a win.

Their slow start is among the surprises early this season, as the Rangers have now lost four in a row with only one win to their record through seven games so far. They’ve had trouble scoring. Mistakes at inopportune moments have been costly.

Facing the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, the Rangers had a brutal start and a brutal finish in a 5-4 overtime loss to their Metropolitan Division foes.

Phil Kessel scored just 43 seconds into the game, utilizing that dangerous wrist shot off the rush to beat Henrik Lundqvist top corner. By the end of one period, it was 2-0 Pittsburgh.

Despite a second-period comeback, with three goals in under three minutes, and taking the lead in the third period, the Rangers couldn’t hang on and the Penguins won in overtime.

Sidney Crosby scored a crafty tying goal with only 56 seconds remaining in regulation, waiting for the Rangers defender to touch the puck negating what would’ve likely been called a hand pass on Pittsburgh before firing a no-look backhander toward the net from behind the red line. The puck deflected in off Lundqvist, helping send this one to overtime.

Evgeni Malkin capped off a four-point night with the overtime winner.

“Right now it’s a little bit challenging as far as putting a whole game together for us,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault following the game. “But this group is very accountable … and I’m very confident that if we keep doing a lot of the things we’re doing right now, we’re going to be on the right track.”

A trio of Rangers recorded their first goals of the season. That included David Desharnais, Michael Grabner and Pavel Buchnevich, although the latter played less than 10 minutes on Tuesday, despite nearly four minutes in power play time, and of course the goal.

The Rangers host the New York Islanders on Thursday. Another loss, and one has to wonder how hot the seat may be getting under Vigneault.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Kucherov joins elite company with hot start, but Devils defeat Bolts

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The Nikita Kucherov Show continues.

The Tampa Bay Lightning star forward maintained his torrid pace Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils, scoring his eighth goal of the season — in just his seventh game.

The Bolts took the lead in the second period on goals from Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, but couldn’t hang on and ultimately lost to the Devils (how about this start for New Jersey?) by a score of 5-4 in the shootout.

There is no denying, however, that this has been a special start for the 24-year-old Kucherov and he has joined elite company as a result.

That’s a perfect shot on Cory Schneider.

Read more: Kucherov’s star continues to rise

Kucherov also added an assist on Vladislav Namestnikov‘s beautiful first-period goal. The Devils, though, completed the comeback to continue their strong start to the season, both in wins and goals for. They entered Tuesday’s contest among the league leaders in scoring and surged out to an early lead following a wild five-goal first period.

Drew Stafford opened the scoring for New Jersey and then tied it late in the third period. Kyle Palmieri scored the winner in the shootout.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Sharks

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It’s been a difficult start to the season for both the San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens, however both clubs have an opportunity to change that beginning tonight.

The Sharks host the Habs and you can catch the action on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or via the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Rangers, Sharks need to wake up from early slumps

Canadiens looking to spark, not ‘bury’ Alex Galchenyuk after move to fourth line

It’s early but the Habs are struggling to find the back of the net

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Video: Nolan Patrick’s sweet drop pass sets up Dale Weise

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That was quite the second period for the Philadelphia Flyers against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

The Flyers scored four straight goals to take a commanding lead, but Nolan Patrick put the exclamation point on the frenzied frame with this sweet drop pass to set up Dale Weise for Philadelphia’s fourth goal.

That’s the second assist and third point of the season for the 19-year-old Patrick.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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