Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 3/4/12
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The New York Rangers have held first place in the Eastern Conference for several months now, and the Boston Bruins have trailed them in second place for the entire time. Within that span the two teams have met twice at TD Garden in Boston, and the Rangers came away victorious in both. The four points collected in those two wins have come in handy for the Blueshirts, who now hold a commanding ten-point lead over the Bruins in the standings. Time is running out for Boston to catch-up to New York, so the last two matches between these two will be critical. 

Madison Square Garden will be hosting the Bruins for the first time since last April, which happened to be the game in which the Rangers came back from a 3-0 deficit to win 5-3 with some last-minute scoring by Brandon Dubinsky and Michael Sauer. It was arguably one of the more memorable wins in recent memory not only because of the rally, but because of how important the win turned out to be for the Rangers' playoff hopes last season. 

And ever since that night the defending Stanley Cup Champions have never found a way to defeat the pesky Blueshirts, which could develop into a very interesting story if these teams meet again in the playoffs later this year. It is often said that the Bruins are the Rangers' biggest threat for the Stanley Cup in the East; well, I think it's fair to say that Henrik Lundqvist and the boys have handled their friends from Beantown quite well to this point. 

The Bruins haven't had much luck with any New York teams lately, actually, as they fell to the Islanders, 3-2, in regulation yesterday at TD Garden. They had a chance to gain some serious ground on the Rangers with back-to-back wins this weekend, but they've already ruined that with yesterday's loss. And not only did they fail to defeat the 13th place Isles, but they also lost back-up goaltender Tuukka Rask to what appears to be a serious injury midway through the game. He's been key for Boston this season, giving the aging Tim Thomas needed rest throughout the year...... not anymore. 

In their last ten games, the Bruins have only posted a 4-5-1 record. They've been streaky in recent games and haven't exactly looked like defending Cup Champs. Boston enters this game in a down wave, which could very well sink deeper this afternoon if they don't come out to play at MSG. After all, they did have to travel to New York immediately after yesterday's loss and now have to play in another afternoon tilt. That's not an easy thing to do. 

As for the Rangers, they need to be looking at this opportunity and licking their chops. Despite being 2-0-0 against the Bruins this season, the Blueshirts have had to battle their hardest in order to earn those wins, and have relied heavily on the play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Today's game has the potential of becoming one-sided if the Rangers can get going right from the start, which was a problem in their first meeting with Boston this season. 

Lundqvist will again be in goal for New York, but it is unclear whether or not either of Ryan Callahan (foot) or Michael Del Zotto (hip) will play this afternoon. Callahan skated for five minutes on his own before the Rangers took the ice for practice Saturday afternoon, but his status is still unknown. Personally, I wouldn't push him to play in this game, especially with Zdeno Chara and that wicked slap shot out there. It's unnecessary and it's more important that he rests for the playoffs. 

The same goes for Del Zotto, who did not even attempt to skate yesterday. He, too, continues to be listed as day-to-day. 

And lastly, Ruslan Fedotenko is now on that list with a foot injury as well. I think it's more likely we see him play, but we will not know until gametime since there's no morning skate before a 12:30 p.m. start. Therefore, I have no official lineup for you today - we'll find out at puck drop. 

New York Rangers Lineup

TBA

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