Saturday, March 7, 2009

Peepin' Foes: Boston Bruins

The new-look New York Rangers will make their debut on the Garden ice bright and early on Sunday, with a NBC matinee against the Big, Bad Bruins at 12:30 (don't forget daylight savings!). Hopefully John Tortorella and Sean Avery can be the alarm clocks that wake up the Rangers who are a dreadful 0-5 in early games this season.

Where We Are: The Rangers have a two game win streak going! After destroying the Avalanche (what a fall from grace for those guys, huh?), the Rangers barely edged out Bridgeport on Thursday. Tortorella's team is 2-1-1 during his tenure but they have yet to face a real team like the Bs.

Where They Are: The Bruins nearly blew a 4-1 lead Saturday but held on to defeat Chicago 5-3 in another Original Six matchup. They they are playing on consecutive days is far from a boon for the Blueshirts as the Bruins are 10-1-2 in the bumper game of back-to-backs this season.

Who To Watch For: Blake Wheeler was a healthy scratch against Chicago - if Claude Julien dresses him, the Rangers had better watch out because the big kid will be out for vengeance and is quite capable of being an impact player. Mark Recchi, who scored against the Hawks, also has a point to prove - that he can still contribute to a winner. Recchi is old enough to know that he can't rest on the laurels of one good game. Former Ranger Marc Savard has had good games all season long and leads Boston with 71 points. Could you imagine if the Rangers had kept him, how many points he would have had playing center for Jaromir Jagr? *shudder* And, last but far from least, playing in Zdeno Chara's shadow, Dennis Wideman is one of the most underrated defensemen in the NHL and is capable of strong play on both sides of the ice.

What To Watch For: The Rangers will be playing in front of a packed Garden and national audience that has raised their hopes for the team over the last week. Will they wilt under the pressure or can John Tortorella get them on the ice with a bounce in their step?

What We'll (Hopefully) See: An afternoon delight would be nice, rather than the usual Sunday slaughter. Sean Avery to get a standing ovation when he starts the game, to not to get killed by the bigger Bs and to be able to get the Bruins goaltender (likely Tim Thomas) off of his game. A heavyweight bout between Shawn Thornton and Colton Orr would also be nice, but only in the context of a tight, hard-hitting game.

Also Check Out: Hub Hockey - fan sites don't get much better than that. Two other good ones are Stanley Cup of Chowder and Cornelius Hardenbergh and the Hockey Blog Adventure.

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