College of Sports Media Game of the Night:
You’ll have to excuse the Boston Bruins if they look at tonight’s game at Madison Square Gardens versus an original rival the New York Rangers as somewhat of a let down. They are coming off an enormous 2-1 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers, played in front of 38 000 people at Fenway Park. Or the win could help them jump start the new decade and add to their two game winning streak. The last two winners of the Winter Classic (Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings) went on to win four straight. In Boston cases they’re second in the Northeast with 49 points and trail only the Buffalo Sabres (56 points). They’ve been getting solid goaltending from reigning Vezina winner Tim Thomas and his back up Tuukka Rask. Thomas has been getting most of the starts (25 to 15) and has played well to be named to the American Olympic team, but he shouldn’t get too comfortable. Rask is pushing him for more ice time. The former Toronto Maple Leaf prospect in 10-3-2, leads the league in save percentage (.935) and has a 1.85 goals against average (second in the league). Up front the Bruins lost some fire power when Phil Kessel signed with the Leafs, but have been getting good production out of Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron leads the team in points with 31 leading to his selection for Canada’s Olympic team. The New York Rangers are dealing with similar issues as the Bruins. They’ve been getting stellar goaltending and great offensive production from too few players. The Rangers have 43 points and trail the division leading and Hudson River rivals the New Jersey Devils by 16 points. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is having one of his best season, unfortunately he’s been hurt by the team’s toffensive ineptitude. He’s got a 2.43 goals against and .920 save percentage, but the guys up front aren’t putting enough pucks past opposing goalies to help Lundqvist get more wins. Case in point the Rangers lost their last game 2-1 in overtime to the league’s bottom dwelling Carolina Hurricanes. The one bright spot for New York has been Marian Gaborik. In 39 games, Gaborik has 27 goals and 25 assists.