Rangers-Bruins Preview

TOM CASTRO (STATS Senior Editor)
The Associated Press

The Boston Bruins and Tuukka Rask were rolling along until playing perhaps their worst game of the season their last time out.

Rask and the Bruins were considerably better in their first meeting of the season with the New York Rangers, and Boston will look for a repeat performance as it tries to rebound Friday at home.

The first-place Bruins (16-7-2) had gone 8-1-1 in their previous 10 heading into Detroit on Wednesday, but fell 6-1 for their most lopsided defeat of the season. Rask gave up all of the goals on 28 shots and Boston's 17 shots tied a season low.

"It's embarrassing for our team," right wing Reilly Smith told the club's official website. "And we have to come out next game and show that we've got a short memory and bounce back from it."

The second period was particularly bad for the Bruins, who were outscored 3-0 and managed three shots. The goals came on four shots in a 3:56 span.

"It's obviously a wakeup call and we have enough experience in this room to realize that, and we definitely have to be better," center Patrice Bergeron told the team's website. "That's too obvious. This is not typical, it's not us."

It's certainly atypical of Rask, who had allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his previous 10 starts. One of those was a 2-1 victory over New York on Nov. 19 which was possibly his best game of the season.

Rask stopped all but one of the season-high 44 shots against, denying Chris Kreider's penalty shot and several other good chances from the Rangers forward.

That allowed the Bruins to win despite managing just 22 shots, and Rask seems likely to be back in net for this game as he and Boston look to put Wednesday's ugly effort behind them.

"... These games obviously happen sometimes and you just have to see what went wrong and try to fix it for the next one," Rask told the team's website.

New York (13-12-0) and its top goalie did just that its last time out, bouncing back from a 5-0 defeat to Tampa Bay on Monday by beating Florida 5-2 on Wednesday. Henrik Lundqvist followed up the rough game against the Lightning from which he was pulled by making 31 saves versus the Panthers.

''That's what I expected from him,'' said coach Alain Vigneault, whose team has won three of four on a five-game trip. ''He's a world-class goaltender, strong mentally."

The Rangers, who matched their goal total of the previous three contests, went 2 of 3 on the power play to end a two-game, 0-for-9 slump with the man advantage.

"We came here to have two points, that's the only thing that matters, but we need to turn the page and focus on Boston," said center Derick Brassard, whose power-play goal opened the scoring in the first period.

Lundqvist made 20 saves Nov. 19 in suffering his first loss in three games against the Bruins. He's 21-8-2 with a 1.68 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in 31 career matchups with them.

Smith has recorded three goals and three assists in the past six games.

Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg didn't play Wednesday due to a lower-body injury, and his status for this game is uncertain.

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