NHL on NBCSN: Rangers host red-hot Bruins on Rivalry Night

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the New York Rangers host the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden at 8:00 p.m. ET today. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

It wasn’t pretty during significant stretches of the 2014-15 season, but the Boston Bruins are looking like the Bruins team many expected to be one of the East’s top squads once again. The New York Rangers had their own issues before righting the ship this season, so tonight’s game stands as a nice gauge of where each franchise is as of early February.

Tuukka Rask stands out the most during Boston’s bombastic run.

The Finnish goalie is a big reason why Boston is 8-1-1 in its past 10 games. The 27-year-old has only allowed three goals once since Jan. 4. He finished last month with a brilliant .949 save percentage that strongly implies that he’s back to his Vezina form after some rare stumbles.

The Rangers really aren’t that far behind the Bruins, especially if you look back to early December.

New York is 18-5-0 in its past 23 contests, and while the Rangers are currently ranked third in the Metropolitan Division, they can take a slim lead if they win the two games they have in hand on the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Even after taking a puck to the throat, Henrik Lundqvist was game enough to help the Rangers beat the Florida Panthers on Monday. Both the Rangers and Bruins are currently on two-game winning streaks.

Milan Lucic is expected to shake off his flu-like symptoms and play, so Boston should be close to full strength. The Rangers hope to see Rick Nash & Co. stay sharp even against elite competition in the likes of Patrice Bergeron.

Boston took a Jan. 15 match between the two teams by a score of 3-0, so we’ll see if the Rangers get a little revenge or if the Bruins continue to strengthen their hold on a wildcard spot.

(Video) PHT Extra: Is the jury still out on the Bruins?

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Thanks to Charlie Jacobs for the fodder.

While the B’s have certainly been playing better of late, we (well, mostly me) are still wondering about the same things we were wondering about a few months ago after Johnny Boychuk was traded and Jarome Iginla wasn’t replaced.

Or maybe I’m just bitter about my Seahawks and wanted to lash out at a Boston sports team.

Tough to say.

The Bruins are on NBCSN tomorrow night versus the Rangers.

Run the ball.

Related: Despite turnaround, no ‘room for complacency’ in Boston

Rask, Bruins complete January with impressive victory against Kings

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Tuukka Rask hasn’t been unbeatable of late, but he’s been close.

Following a 43-save performance against the New York Islanders on Thursday, the Boston Bruins goalie made 30 saves in a 3-1 victory over the L.A. Kings on Saturday, giving Rask seven victories in the month of January.

Brad Marchand had a pair of goals and seven shots on goal, and now has four points in his last five games.

The wins are important. That’s obvious. But Rask has recently shut the door on opposing shooters, allowing three goals in a game only twice in his last 11 starts this month. It’s a big reason why the Bruins were able to work their way out of previous struggles and back into a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Boston forward Loui Eriksson left the game late in the third period after taking a hard Robyn Regehr hit into the boards. It looked like Regehr’s right arm caught Eriksson near the back of the net.

According to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com, Boston’s coach Claude Julien didn’t have an update on Eriksson but said he might have a sore neck.

Bruins recall top goalie prospect Malcolm Subban, Svedberg starts conditioning stint

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The Boston Bruins have decided to send goaltender Niklas Svedberg to AHL Providence so that he can participate in a conditioning stint, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. Top prospect Malcolm Subban has been summoned to serve as the team’s number two netminder in his absence.

Svedberg is a 25-year-old rookie that’s had a strong season with a 2.22 GAA and .922 save percentage in 12 contests. However, the Bruins have been justifiably leaning on Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Tuukka Rask and Svedberg has only gotten one January start as a result.

So this is an opportunity for Svedberg to stay sharp by getting some work in the minors, but it’s also a chance to reward 21-year-old Subban. He has a 2.47 GAA and .921 save percentage in 22 AHL games this season and was selected as the AHL Player of the Week for Jan. 19-25 after he recorded a 0.99 GAA and .967 save percentage in three starts.

Depending on how long Svedberg’s conditioning stint lasts, Subban might make his NHL debut during this stint as Boston is scheduled to play three games in four days from Feb. 7-10. Subban was taken with the 24th overall pick in 2012 and is the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.

Report: Bruins take step to release Gagne

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Simon Gagne’s attempt to stage a comeback after being out of the NHL for a season was successful as he participated in 23 games with Boston. On Jan. 12 though, he made it known that he was permanently leaving the Bruins.

“The last month has been extremely difficult for me with my father being sick and his passing,” Gagne said at the time. “To play in the NHL you have to be 100% mentally, emotionally and physically committed to the game. At this time I know that I cannot be close to those levels. The Bruins organization and my teammates have been great to my family and I during this time.”

The Bruins suspended him so that they could maintain a full roster. They took another step towards finalizing the process on Wednesday by placing him on unconditional waivers. If he clears, he will be released, according to an Associated Press source.

Gagne, who is a veteran of 822 NHL games, averaged 11:18 minutes per contest and recorded four points during his tenure with Boston. At the age of 34, he still might eventually attempt to return to the NHL once more.