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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 24th (All times eastern)

New York Rangers (37-28-9) at Boston Bruins (34-34-5), 1 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers will try to continue their surge this afternoon, when they visit the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden.

The Rangers have won three straight contests to improve their postseason chances. New York has 83 points on the year and is seventh in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay is three points ahead in sixth, while Carolina and Montreal are tied for the eighth and final berth with 82 points apiece.

The Blueshirts have been off since Wednesday night, when they destroyed the visiting Philadelphia Flyers by a 5-0 count. Brendan Shanahan returned to the lineup for New York after being sidelined with a concussion since mid- February, and picked up two assists in the easy victory at Madison Square Garden.

With the return of Shanahan, the Rangers got a tremendous boost for their playoff run as the powerful forward had missed the last 15 games. On February 18, Shanahan and Philadelphia's Mike Knuble were involved in a vicious collision in which both players were left with major injuries. Shanahan was removed from the ice immobilized on a stretcher.

Henrik Lundqvist made 17 saves to record his fifth shutout of the season while Sean Avery scored two goals for the Rangers, who have managed to register points in 10 of their last 11 games (8-1-3).

The Rangers, who are 18-13-4 as the visiting club this year, begin a four-game road trip this evening.

The Bruins, meanwhile, have dropped three consecutive games and have barely showed a pulse in that stretch as they have lost those tests by a combined 14-3 margin.

The latest setback for Boston came Thursday in Montreal, as the Bruins and Habs played the finale of a home-and-home series. Christopher Higgins scored a goal and added three assists, and the Canadiens exploded for five unanswered goals, including four in a seven-minute span in the third period, to earn the 6-3 victory.

Mark Mowers and Phil Kessel each notched a goal and an assist for the Bruins, while Tim Thomas let in six scores on only 30 shots.

The Bruins have been all but officially eliminated from the postseason race, as they are nine points out of the eighth spot in the conference.

Boston is 18-16-3 as the host club this season and has dropped five of its last seven tests in Beantown.

The Rangers are 3-0 against the Bruins this season and have outscored them, 16-2, in those matchups. New York has taken seven straight and 10 of the last 13 encounters in the series.

03/24 10:32:49 ET


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