The roar of battle shall flow like the mightiest of rivers.
The crys of the stricken shall haunt your nightmares until your last.
The glory won shall never tarnish.
He who falls he shall be forever forgotten.
It is after all game #699 of the NHL season. No game could be more important, no game has ever been more important. At least not until the next big matchup.
For today though we get to see the Bruins take on an upgraded version of one of the few teams to win their season series with them last year. The Rangers will get a true test of who they are, the Bruins play a style very similar to their own, and know how to win in a number of ways. There are players on the Rangers who have been to the promised land, but the team as a unit has not.
On paper there matchup couldn’t get much tighter. The two have almost identical goals allowed figures. Each team wins more faceoffs than they lose. Their penalty kills are separated by just half a point. The top point producer for each squad is a speedy right winger, Gaborik for the Rangers and Seguin for the Bruins. Each team has a defenseman with points in the twenties, Del Zotto the rising star of the Blue Shirts, and Chara Norris winner, All Star Captain and biggest of the Bruins. Looking at the comparative powerplays might imply more separation as Bruins boast a 4.6% better man advantage, but the Rangers take slightly less penalties. The biggest point of separation between the two is total offense where the Bruins lead the league and are out producing the Rangers by 3/4ths of a goal per game. With goaltending as good these two teams have, expect no more than a two goal game.
The Bruins have hit a patch of schedule that has left them playing poorly for long stretches of games, but have still won most of those games. The Rangers are coming in off a loss. Neither team can afford to let up off the throttle. At the end of the game the winner will be able to walk out of the building saying not only that they won, but that they beat the other team that has been at the top of the conference most of the season.