2013 NHL Playoffs: New York Rangers vs Boston Bruins Preview

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Two battle-hardened defensive stalwarts meet in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, as the #4 seed Boston Bruins host the #6 seed New York Rangers tonight in Game One. Each of these Original Six squads required seven games to make it out of the opening round, but the long road to the Stanley Cup has only just begun.

The Stats

New York Rangers Boston Bruins
Record 26-18-4 12th 28-14-6 5th
GF/Game 2.62 15th 2.65 13th
GA/Game 2.25 4th 2.21 3rd
5-on-5 SF/60 31.3 4th 32.5 2nd
5-on-5 SA/60 26.9 6th 28.3 13th
Fenwick Close 53.88 7th 54.35 4th
5-on-5 Save % .930 3rd .928 4th
5-on-4 GF/60 4.8 26th 5.1 21st
# of PP's/Gm 3.19 21st 2.54 30th
4-on-5 GA/60 7.4 26th 4.3 3rd
# of PK's/Gm 3.08 8th 3.40 17th

Statistically these two teams are almost mirror images of each other. They dominate puck possession, score at a decent rate and are suffocating defensively, backed by strong goaltending. The Achilles Heel for the Bruins is their rough play, which lands them in the penalty box more often than their opponents. If the Rangers can capitalize on those extra power play chances, that could tip the scales in New York's favor.

The SB Nation Blogs

Blueshirt Banter vs Stanley Cup of Chowder

New York Rangers

Over at Blueshirt Banter, they're grateful to have made it through the first round, especially considering the lack of production (two assists) from Rick Nash, who was outstanding during the regular season:

So consider Thursday the beginning of Nash's second chance. I think a lot of the reactions to Nash's first round performance aren't exactly fair. Yes, he's the guy who is supposed to be scoring goals, so some blame has to fall on his shoulders. But Arron Asham scored as many goals as Ryan Callahan, Nash and Alex Ovechkin combined in the first round. It wasn't just Nash who wasn't scoring. And it certianly wasn't just Nash's fault that the power play was an incredible 2-for-27 in the series.

Remember, Nash was an animal in Game 1 (he had eight shots on goal), he hit the post with nine minutes left in Game 2, he recorded an assist in Game 3 and he came alive in Games 6 and 7. There are a lot of "what ifs" when it comes to Nash's first seven playoff games as a Ranger. Those get erased too if he can find his game in the second round.

The Rangers made serious strides to get out of the first round after going down 0-2 in the series. Brassard and Zuccarello were a huge part of the offensive outburst to get the Rangers over the hump. Moore stepped up in a big way with Marc Staal out. The Rangers as a whole came together. Henrik Lundqvist was Henrik Lundqvist.

Now it's Nash's turn to find himself in the playoffs. This is his second chance.

It's time to use it.

Boston Bruins

The Bruins may have a tough job bouncing back after their historic comeback in Game 7 against Toronto - after all, how do you top the emotional high of scoring twice in the final two minutes of regulation of an elimination game, then score the overtime winner?

While Zdeno Chara will be in the spotlight as he tries to contain the Rangers' Nash (and boy should that be a treat to watch), the hot hand for Boston up front belongs to David Krejci, who leads all playoff scorers with five goals and eight assists through seven games.

New York Rangers vs Boston Bruins TV schedule

Date Time (CTL) Location TV
Thursday, May 16 6:30 p.m. Boston NBCSN, TSN, RDS
Sunday, May 19 2:00 p.m. Boston NBC, TSN, RDS
Tuesday, May 21 6:30 p.m. New York NBCSN, TSN, RDS
Thursday, May 23 6:00 p.m. New York CNBC, TSN, RDS
* Saturday, May 25 TBD Boston TSN, RDS, TBD
* Monday, May 27 TBD New York TSN, RDS, TBD
* Wednesday, May 29 TBD Boston TSN, RDS, TBD

OTF Staff Picks

Picks Winner Comment
Dirk Boston This might be the closest matchup of the second round, and Rick Nash vs. Zdeno Chara has "War of the Gargantuas" written all over it. I like the Bruins in a squeaker.
Jonathan Boston Richards is playing on the 4th line, Nash can't finish, Girardi and McDonagh aren't going to have legs soon. Neither team played their best last round, but the Bruins overcame more and come in as the better team. They are also perfectly built to get in Lundqvists face and throw him off his game. Hank's been doing most of the heavy lifting this series and he'll continue to do so until the Bruins win in Game 6.
Chris Boston What a finish to a great series last night in Boston. The Bruins were able to take their game to a whole other level and steal a victory from the jaws of defeat. Boston Strong indeed. Patrice Bergeron proved why he is one of the most underrated players in the league. Of course, the Rangers aren't going to be push overs. They showed their own gumption by beating the red hot Caps. This one has instant classic written all over it. I am going Boston in 7. This series is one you will not want to miss.
George New York I picked the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup in my preseason predictions, and then picked the Capitals in the last round. Shows what I know! The Rangers gave up some important depth in acquiring Rick Nash, but then got it back in the Gaborik trade. The Bruins are a more well-rounded team, and both squads carry huge momentum into the second round after important Game 7s in the first. King Henrik will be a difference maker in this series. Rangers in 6.
Jason Boston So excited these Boston and New York teams are enjoying some sporting success. After decades without a championship in any sport, these East Coast teams are finally getting some national coverage. Good for them.

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