NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 23: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers protects the net against Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden on January 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

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)

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”

Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season

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Joe Vitale will not play again this season.

The Arizona Coyotes have shut Vitale down for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign due to “concussion-related issues,” according to a report from Sarah McLellan of azcentral sports on Wednesday.

Vitale, a 30-year-old veteran center, appeared in only one game for the Coyotes this season. That was back on Oct. 17, when he suffered a concussion and broken orbital bone in a fight with Kevan Miller of the Boston Bruins.

Sens announce Frattin, acquired in Phaneuf deal, will stick with AHL Marlies

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Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.

But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.

Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.

Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.