Bruins eye 11th straight at home vs. Rangers
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If the Boston Bruins are to extend their longest home winning streak in a decade, they must find a way to beat the New York Rangers.
The Bruins will try for a 12th straight home victory while looking to avoid being swept in the season series by the Rangers on Wednesday night.
Having already secured a playoff spot, Boston's bid for an undefeated four-game trip ended with Monday's 5-4 loss at Tampa Bay. Brad Marchand scored twice, and Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak each had two assists for the Bruins, who led 4-2 after two periods.
"It's a really good trip, a lot of good things to take from it," Bergeron, who has nine points in his last five games, told the Bruins' official website. "A good 40 minutes (Monday), but we've got to be good for 60."
The Bruins (46-21-9, 101 points) return home, where they've won 11 straight since a 3-2 overtime loss to Philadelphia on Jan 31. It's their longest such run since taking 14 in a row at home during the 2008-09 season.
Marchand and Bergeron each have 16-game home point streaks, and combined for 21 goals with 32 assists during that span. Together, they've totaled two goals and three assists while Boston's dropped the first two meetings with New York this season.
Sweeping a series from their Original Six rival for the second time in three seasons might seem like a small consolation for the Rangers, who will miss the playoffs in back-to-back campaigns for the first time since a seven-year drought from 1998-2004. However, it can provide some motivation near the end of a lost season.
New York won 3-2 at Boston on Jan. 19 -- the Bruins' most recent regulation home defeat -- and 4-3 in a home shootout Feb. 6. But the Rangers enter amid a 2-7-5 stretch following Monday's 5-2 home loss to Pittsburgh.
Goals by youngsters Brendan Lemieux and Vinni Lettieri gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead late in the first period against the Penguins. However, New York managed 19 shots on goal over the next two periods after recording 16 in the first.
"First period, we were all over them," defenseman Brady Skjei told the Rangers' official website. "Just kind of got away from it.
"Got to move on from this -- another big game in Boston coming up."
New York's Alexandar Georgiev made 31 saves in his second straight start Monday, as the team continues to take a good look at its backup. He stopped 27 of 30 shots against Boston in February.
Teammate Henrik Lundqvist has a 3.07 goals-against average during his three-game losing streak. However, he beat the Bruins in January, and owns a 1.65 GAA while winning his last three at Boston.
New York's leading scorer Mika Zibanejad has two goals in his last 17 games, but three versus Boston in 2018-19.
Boston's Tuukka Rask, who made 23 saves at Tampa Bay, has a 1.99 GAA during a seven-game home winning streak. Rask left in the first period against New York in January with a concussion.
Jaroslav Halak, 0-1-1 against the Rangers this season, sports a 1.45 GAA while winning his last four home starts.
The status of Boston defenseman John Moore is uncertain after he suffered an upper-body injury Monday. Meanwhile, New York's Chris Kreider and Marc Staal are also day-to-day with lower-body issues.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 27, 2019