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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Rangers, Wednesday November 17th

A busy week for the Bruins (9-5-1) continues Wednesday, when they head down Interstate 95 to the Big Apple, to take on an Original Six rival, the New York Rangers (10-7-1).

The Rangers are winners of three straight games since their leading scorer from a year ago, Marian Gaborik, returned from a shoulder injury. Monday, the Blueshirts edged Pittsburgh, 3-2 in overtime. They’ll be looking for their first four-game win streak of the season Wednesday when they host the B’s.

Boston begins a three-game-in-four-days stretch with their game against the Rangers. After this game, they’ll head home to host Florida Thursday and the West’s best, the L.A. Kings on Saturday night. The B’s are coming off a very tidy 3-0 win over the lowly New Jersey Devils Monday night, the fourth shutout of the season for Tim Thomas, easily the team’s standout player thus far.

Plenty to get to before these two heat up their long-standing rivalry at Madison Square Garden, so let’s drop the puck on some pregame notes…

– This will be the second of four meetings this season between the Bruins and Rangers. New York topped the B’s, 3-2 at TD Garden, back on October 23rd.

– In that game, the B’s lost defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a broken arm, suffered on a slash from New York’s leading scorer, Brandon Dubinsky. Boychuk has missed the team’s last nine games, but could make his return to the ice Wednesday against the very team that knocked him out. Boychuk is considered to be day-to-day, and depending on how he feels at the team’s morning skate, we could see #55 back in action Wednesday evening.

– Also returning to practice the past few days has been center David Krejci, who is trying to come back from a mild concussion sustained just over a week ago. Krejci has been cleared for contact and while he won’t be in the lineup Wednesday in New York, it’s very possible he makes his return in either of the team’s upcoming home games later this week.

– Behind Dubinsky (10G, 7A) on the Rangers stat sheet, you’ll find forward Ryan Callahan (5G, 11A) and center Artem Anisimov (6G, 8A).

– In goal, Henrik Lundqvist will likely see action Wednesday against the B’s. Lundqvist (7-5-1, 2.61GAA) has owned the Bruins throughout his career, posting a 14-4-2 record lifetime with a 1.42GAA, better than any other opponent. The Swede is backed up by veteran Martin Biron (3-2-0, 2.21GAA).

– On the injury front for New York, Chris Drury (finger), Vinny Prospal (knee), and defenseman Michal Rozsival (shoulder) all remain out of action. Forward Derek Boogaard missed Monday’s game with a hand injury, after hurting his mitt in two fights Saturday night against Edmonton’s Steve MacIntyre. The team lists him as “day-to-day,” meaning he may or may not play Wednesday against Boston.

– The B’s are up against tough odds and even tougher history Wednesday. The Rangers have won the last five games over Boston at MSG, and 11 of the last 13.

– As I write this (it’s about 11am), it’s still too early to tell who will be in goal for the Bruins Wednesday, but with back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday, you can expect Tuukka Rask to be in net for one of them. Total guess, but I’m predicting we see Thomas in net Wednesday against New York, with Tuukka getting the call Thursday night back home against the less talented Panthers.

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