Rangers-Bruins Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 14, 2012
Ryan Callahan's scoring surge is one reason why the New York Rangers are on another winning streak, and showing signs of pulling away from the rest of the Eastern Conference. The Boston Bruins would like to cut into that lead, but will need to win back-to-back games for the first time in over a month. Callahan and the Rangers look to extend their overall winning streak and their road run against the Bruins to four Tuesday night. Callahan has five goals during New York's three-game winning streak, scoring an acrobatic backhander while falling to the ice in Sunday's 3-2 victory against Washington. That came less than 24 hours after the Rangers captain notched his second career hat trick in a 5-2 win at Philadelphia. "I think sometimes people think he's just a shot-blocker, and a guy that can bang along the boards, and forecheck and finish checks, but this is what his third season with 20-plus goals," coach John Tortorella said. "He can also play and make plays. I think Cally has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder that everybody thinks he's a one-dimensional guy. He isn't. "As he keeps on growing as a player, he's certainly showing that." Callahan's 22 goals are one shy of his career high set last season, and the Rangers (36-13-5) are reaping the benefits of his production. He's scored 19 of his goals and recorded 17 of his 19 assists in 24 games that have resulted in New York victories, including one goal and one assist in a 3-2 overtime win at Boston (34-17-2) on Jan. 21. That's partly why New York is trailing West-leading Detroit by one point in the race for the Presidents' Trophy, while holding a seven-point lead on the Bruins for the top spot in the East. The Rangers have won three in a row at Boston for the first time since a four-game winning streak from Jan. 21, 2006-March 24, 2007. The Bruins avoided a third straight home loss with a 4-3 shootout victory over Nashville on Saturday. That win came after a 2-4-0 stretch that was capped by a 6-0 drubbing at Buffalo on Wednesday for their most lopsided loss in nearly four years. "It's our job to build off this," goaltender Tim Thomas said. "I think we played a much better game and we found a way to win again." Thomas figures to be back in net after winning for the fifth time in six starts Saturday, making 19 saves through overtime before stopping two shots in the tiebreaker. He's dropped three of his last four games against the Rangers, but didn't face them last month as Tuukka Rask made 30 saves. Rask is 0-2-1 with a 2.30 goals-against average in his last three games against New York - all at home. Milan Lucic has two goals in three games, including the tally that forced overtime with 1:07 left in regulation Saturday. The left wing's 20 goals tie him with Tyler Seguin for the team lead. Lucic and Seguin have failed to score in the last three games versus the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist is largely responsible for that, winning three in a row against the Bruins behind a 1.63 GAA and one shutout. In 24 career meetings, he's 17-5-2 with a 1.51 GAA and five shutouts, including a 32-save effort in Boston last month.
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