The New York Rangers made an impressive comeback in the first round against the Washington Capitals, but they will have to be even better to win their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Boston Bruins. New York trails Boston 3-0 in the second round, as they enter Game Four.
On Thursday night, the No.6 seed will look to stave off elimination for at least one more night. They host the Bruins at Madison Square Garden in a 7 p.m. start. CNBC will have the coverage on TV, but viewers can see a free live stream online with NBC Sports Live Extra.
Through three games, Boston has been dominant defensively, allowing just five total goals. Goaltender Tuukka Rask has improved upon his regular season numbers, saving 95 percent of the shots sent his way.
One of the biggest reasons for the Rangers struggles has been the lack of production from Brad Richards. The assistant captain, who signed a nine-year contract in 2011, has played so poorly that he won’t get a chance to take the ice in Game Four. Head coach John Tortorella decided early on Thursday to make Richards a healthy scratch.
"I don't know if surprised is the right word for it," Richards said. "I'm disappointed."
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In 10 playoff games, Richards has scored just one goal and failed to record an assist. His plus/minus rating of -3 certainly hasn’t helped, and he won’t get a chance to help keep his team’s season alive.
Despite the comfortable series lead, the Bruins no this series isn’t over. Besides the Rangers first-round comeback, Boston almost blew a 3-1 series lead to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"You learn from the past, but you live in the moment. You don't live in the past," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I like where our team is right now. We're certainly not looking at it the way other people will look at it -- trying to find reasons to give New York some hope, saying `These guys have done this, these guys have had trouble doing this.'”
Boston defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden are expected to be out, again, with injuries. New York defenseman Anton Stralman will, probably, miss the contest, as well.
Betting Odds: New York-115, Boston-105
Prediction: Boston 3, New York 1