Posted January 20, 2012 on AP on Fox
In the nearly 10 months since the last meeting between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, enough has changed to put an old Original Six rivalry in a whole new light. The top spot in the Eastern Conference is on the line as these elite clubs open their season series with a Saturday matinee in Boston. The Rangers and Bruins share a link to the NHL's earliest days - not to mention a New York-Boston dynamic that stirs passions in other sports - but they've both had more intense rivalries with several other teams recently. That's largely because they haven't met in the playoffs since 1973. All of that could be about to change. Since they last squared off April 4, Boston (30-13-1) has won the Stanley Cup and New York (29-12-4) has blossomed into one of the East's best teams, currently leading the conference by one point over the Bruins. "It's a great challenge," Rangers center Brad Richards told his team's official website. "We haven't played them yet, and we've been looking forward to this all year, the defending champions neck-and-neck with us all year. It's a great building to play in, a Saturday afternoon. It's going to be a lot of fun." Boston inched closer to the Rangers with a 4-1 win at New Jersey on Thursday. Trailing entering the third period and in danger of their third loss in four games, the Bruins responded with four unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes. They've outscored opponents 67-30 in the third this season. "We obviously talked about needing to be better," goaltender Tim Thomas said. "You can talk about it, and there's a difference between talking about it and doing it. One of the good things about this team is, more often than not, we do it." That's also been true of the Rangers, who've outscored foes 46-33 in the final period. That didn't hold true Thursday against Pittsburgh, however, as the Penguins scored three in the third to win 4-1. New York has dropped three of five after winning 10 of the previous 11. "I guess everyone is used to those five-game winning streaks, those seven-game winning streaks," Rangers coach and Boston-area native John Tortorella said. "It's not going to be easy." The Rangers owned the third period the last time these teams met. Boston led 3-0 in the second, but New York rallied with two in that period and three more in the final four minutes of a 5-3 victory, which was vital to the team claiming the East's final playoff spot. Their sights are set higher this season, but the Rangers are seeking more offensive consistency after scoring one or zero goals in four of their past six. Richards, who expects to play despite missing practice Friday with a sore neck, has no points in that stretch for his longest drought as a Ranger. "For a while when we were winning a lot of games we did all the little things really well," goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. "That's just what we have to come back to." The Bruins are coming back home - briefly - as they continue a stretch of six games in nine days leading up to the All-Star break. They've more than doubled their opponents' goal total (71-31) while going 14-2-1 in Boston since the start of November, although the Rangers won in both of their visits last season. With another big game looming Sunday at Philadelphia, the Bruins may start Tuukka Rask in this contest. Thomas' backup has posted a 1.62 goals-against average in five starts against the Rangers, although he's 2-3-0 in those games. Lundqvist has stellar numbers against Boston - 16-5-2 with a 1.50 GAA and five shutouts in 23 career meetings.

Richards Sits Out Practice After Cooke Slew-Foot

Center Brad Richards sat out practice this afternoon following the team's 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, as per Andrew Gross. In addition, the Rangers reported that he was sitting out due to the slew-foot he received from Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke midway through the second period of Thursday's tilt. Richards would later confirm that he had a stiff neck after being...

Rangers C Richards misses practice

Brad Richards did not practice on Friday, but New York Rangers coach John Tortorella insisted that the center will "be fine" for Saturday's tilt against the Boston Bruins. Richards was leveled by Pittsburgh Penguins agitator Matt Cooke during Thursday's 4-1 loss and appeared to land on his back. While no tripping penalty was called, the play was reviewed by the...

Richards ticked at Cooke’s cheap shot; Tortorella on Boston

Was busy at post-practice today, working on Ryan Callahan story for the weekend. But did have time to get Brad Richards’ angry reaction to that pile of carcillo Matt Cooke’s slew foot, and John Tortorella talking about Boston tomorrow. Richards missed practice with a neck that “locked up” after the game, but said he had no symptoms of a concussion (he missed 10 games...

Cooke Slewfooted Richards?

#embedly_twitter_78757033{background:url( #b90a0a; padding:20px;} #embedly_twitter_78757033 p{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 0px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} #embedly_twitter_78757033 .embedly_tweet_content...

Matt Cooke’s alleged slew foot on Brad Richards will not derail Lady Byng campaign (Video)

The rehabilitation of Matt Cooke from reckless hockey hooligan to upstanding citizen in the NHL has been well-documented, with ESPN and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the latest to pen "Injurious thugs can change!" soliloquies. But much like the Ottawa Senators' record, everyone is waiting for Cooke's reputation to regress back to its expected norms; looking for...

Costly Mistakes – Penguins @ Rangers Post Game Thoughts…

I don’t think the score was a far characterization of how this game was played. To be totally frank, I thought for the bulk of this game the Rangers played the Pens fairly evenly. I don’t think this was the case of 1 team blowing the doors off the other. The score was, after all, tied going into the 3rd period. The difference in this game, to me, was the Rangers were unable...

NHL clears Cooke in incident with Ranger' Richards

The NHL has decided not to review Matt Cooke's knockdown of Rangers center Brad Richards on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

John Toperzer: GAMEDAY! Pens Shoot for Fifth Straight Win

Habs (17-21-8, 9-12-1 Road) at Pens (25-17-4, 12-7-2 Home), 7:00 PM Eastern, CONSOL Follow me on Twitter @JohnToperzer Here’s the alleged Matt Cooke slew foot on Brad Richards on Thursday. That play is pretty common but when it comes to Cooke, anything appears to be fair game. It almost reminds me of PK Subban's slew foot of James Neal that caused Neal'...

Rangers-Penguins in review

Thoughts: 1) I said it before and I’ll say it again (though I’m sure it won’t placate any of the NNs, or Chicken Littles, the “fire Torts” gang or plain old trolls. If losing three out of five is as bad as it gets, or even four out of six, this is going to be one fabulous, unbelievable, wildly-successful season. 2) Everybody’s going after Evgeny Malkin lately,...

Penguins Notebook: Team eager to stage another Garden party

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma gathered his players at practice Wednesday for some prep talk going into the game tonight against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. He mentioned some players to watch, such as defenseman Marc Staal and forwards Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards.
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.