New York Rangers take quest for first place into Boston

Things will be a little harder for the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon in Boston. That’s because the team will be facing the Bruins without the services of two key players in Andrew Copp and Filip Chytil.

Both players walked away a little banged up after the team doubled up the New York Islanders on Thursday. The good news is that head coach informed reporters after an optional practice on Friday that the injuries are not serious.

This time of the year we’ve got the good fortune to rest them,” Gerard Gallant said. “There’s no issue (for the playoffs). I think it’s day-to-day.”

New York Rangers take on the Boston Bruins

The Rangers (51-21-6, 108 points) are looking to sweep the season series against the Bruins on enemy ice. They enter their second visit to Boston on the strength of a four-game winning streak.

The first three wins came in shutout fashion before that streak ended during Thursday’s 6-3 victory at the New York Islanders. That win officially gave the Rangers home-ice advantage to start the playoffs.

“I’m happy with the way we played the last number of games because there are some games we’ve played teams that were out of the playoffs and we still kept focusing on our game and playing the right way,” Gallant said. “I like winning, but I’m more happy with the way we’re playing, definitely.”

Andrew Copp, who was acquired from Winnipeg last month, scored a first-period natural hat trick before exiting late in the third with a lower-body injury.

Artemi Panarin logged his 20th multi-assist game this season and extended his point streak to four games after setting up four goals. It was also the 96th point of the season for The Breadman setting a new career high.

Former Harvard defenseman Adam Fox dished out three in his 200th NHL game. Chris Kreider scored his 51st goal and league-leading 26th on the power play.

Rangers chase for first-place

rangers bruins
Nov 26, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Rangers left wing Dryden Hunt (29) reacts after scoring a goal past Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers and Hurricanes each have 4 games remaining on their schedule. If the Blueshirts win out, they will secure first-place in the Metro Division.

Carolina currently holds first place thanks to the first tiebreaker which is regulation wins (44-43). Should the teams be knotted up after that it goes to wins excluding the shootout. If still tied it goes to total wins.

Finally, if the Canes and Rangers remain knotted up it goes to head-to-head results. The final tiebreaker is goal differential, where the Rangers are well behind by 18 goals.

HURRICANES SCHEDULERANGERS SCHEDULE
@ COL 4/16 (L)vs DET 4/16 (W)
@ AZ 4/18 (W)vs WPG 4/19 (W)
vs WPG 4/21 (W)@NYI 4/21 (W)
@ NJ 4/23@ BOS 4/23
@ NYI 4/24vs CAR 4/26
@ NYR 4/26vs MTL 4/27
vs NJD 4/28vs WSH 4/29
NYR and CAR remaining schedule

Bruins looking to move up the standings

Boston (47-25-5, 99 points) enters the third and final regular-season meeting with its Original Six rivals having lost four of six following Thursday’s 4-0 setback in Pittsburgh.

The Bruins were shut out for the first time in franchise history when taking at least 50 shots on goal. New Hampshire native Casey DeSmith made a career-high 52 stops en route to his third shutout of the season for Pittsburgh.

Jeremy Swayman made 28 saves before falling for just the seventh time in his last 21 decisions (14-6-1). But, Jason Zucker’s goal felt like a backbreaker after the Bruins had registered the first 10 shots of the second period.

The Bruins had previously won back-to-back games. They defeated the Penguins, 2-1, last Saturday before leaving St. Louis with a 3-2 triumph on Tuesday, thanks to defenseman Charlie McAvoy’s overtime goal.

“We’ve got to finish better,” Cassidy said. “We’ve been struggling to score the last little bit. We got away with it the last few games because we played well defensively and got the saves. (Thursday), we didn’t.”

Though Thursday marked its first time being shut out since Feb. 10 against Carolina, Boston hasn’t scored more than three goals in any of its last nine games. That coincides with an 0-for-29 drought on the power play.

Vegas mystery?

What’s going on in Vegas? The Golden Knights are refuting reports that goalie Robin Lehner is having season-ending surgery. Read more.

–Field Level Media contributed to this article.