Rangers vs. Bruins
Boston, MA - The Boston Bruins have yet to lose on North American soil. Another solid performance could bring them closer to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
Boston will host the New York Rangers on Saturday night looking for its fifth consecutive victory after dropping its season opener in Prague.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Bruins –155 money line favorites for Saturday's game against the Rangers. Current MLB Public Betting Information shows that 62% of more than 637 bets for this game have been placed on the Bruins -155.
Part of the Bruins' success can be attributed to the surprising play of goaltender Tim Thomas. While it's unclear whether Thomas or Tuukka Rask will start Saturday night, Thomas has won four consecutive starts.
After winning the 2009 Vezina Trophy following a 36-win season, Thomas struggled to a 17-18-8 record in 2009-10 and lost the No. 1 job to Rask. He seems to have recovered from offseason surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip and has given up one or fewer goals in his four starts, leading the NHL with a 0.75 goals-against average.
"I'm hoping this isn't just a hot streak; this is me now," Thomas said. "At times last year I felt like I was a one-legged goalie."
Thomas saved 73 of 75 shots as Boston (4-1-0) swept Washington in a home-and-home series, capped by Thursday night's 4-1 win at TD Garden. The Bruins scored three goals with the man advantage against the Capitals, who had not allowed a single power-play goal in six games to start the season.
Nathan Horton, acquired in a June trade with Florida, has four goals and seven points in five games while David Krejci and Milan Lucic are off to solid starts with six points each.
The Rangers (2-2-1) are coming off a 2-1 victory Thursday night at Toronto which ended a three-game losing streak. Ruslan Fedotenko and Artem Anisimov scored 61 seconds apart in the first period, and rookie Derek Stepan scored his team-leading fifth point with an assist.
New York blocked 30 shots in recording its first win since the Oct. 9 season opener.
"I definitely think this was our most complete effort yet," Dan Girardi said. "We were really hard on the forecheck and strong in the defensive zone. You can just see here how hard everyone worked. I really think it was a strong 60-minute effort, and it's going to take another 77 of those this year to get us into the playoffs."
Backup goaltender Martin Biron got his first start of the season in place of struggling Henrik Lundqvist and made 25 saves.
"We set a high mark (Thursday) and that is going to have to be the mark we reach every game," Biron said. "I think we have to challenge one another to get to that point."
However, the Rangers' offense has lacked over the past three games, scoring a total of six goals - matching the number they scored in their season-opener alone. Stepan has not scored a goal since that game and Brandon Dubinsky has been held pointless over the past three.
The Rangers have been without three of their top forwards in Marian Gaborik (separated shoulder), Vinny Prospal (knee surgery) and Chris Drury (broken finger), who are all out with injuries.The Rangers took three of four games from the Bruins last season, beating Thomas twice. Rask is 2-1-0 in his career against the Rangers with one shutout.
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