8 a.m. ET: This is the day hockey fans have been waiting on for way too long. The NHL is back, and it’s back in a big way.
The lockout is over, the accelerated training camp has finished and it’s time to get after it. Professional hockey returns to rinks everywhere on Saturday, and there may not be a better game on the docket than the one set to take place in Boston.
The Bruins will open their 2013 season in a big way, welcoming the New York Rangers to town. It’s a matchup of two teams that have Stanley Cup dreams, and it could mark the first of many meetings between the two clubs, extending well into the spring.
Boston will be ushering in a new era of sorts. The B’s turn the goaltending responsibilities over to Tuukka Rask.
The Finnish netminder is no stranger to the starting role, though. Rask started 39 games during the 2009-10 season, going 22-12-5 with a very nice 1.97 goals against average and an impressive .931 save percentage. He’s got big shoes to fill, though, with Tim Thomas opting to spend his year in Colorado rather than between the pipes in Boston.
On the other side of the ice, there are no goaltending questions. Henrik Lundqvist is the reigning Vezina winner and is the league’s best goalie in the eyes of many. On top of that, the Rangers have one of the league’s deepest rosters as well as some of the NHL’s highest expectations.
Puck drop between these two elite clubs is set for 7 p.m. with coverage on NESN beginning at 5:30, but be sure to check back here before this one starts for updates from the Garden.