By Matt Calamia (Twitter)
The Rangers returned to the ice after a day off on Tuesday in preparation for the second round matchup with the Boston Bruins that begins Thursday night at the TD Bank Garden.
Marc Staal, Ryane Clowe and Darroll Powe did not take part in the practice and not update on their conditions was given. Three members of the team’s “taxi squad” — forwards Kris Newbury, Michael Haley as well as goalie Cam Talbot — also skated with the team.
Not surprisingly, the Rangers are prepping for what should be a physical series with the Bruins, who posses players like Milan Lucic, Johnny Boychuk and Zdeno Chara.
“You can feel him from quite a distance,” Brad Richards said jokinly of Zdeno Chara. He said after last series against the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin — who finished with 13 hits alone in Game 7 — the Rangers are ready for another tough matchup. “Our guys are used to that,” he added.
Defenseman Dan Girardi said the Bruins thrive on attacking the net, which the Rangers can defend against by keeping Boston to the perimeter.
“They’re going to do their best to get in front of [Henrik Lundqvist] and get pucks to the net,” he said after practice. “We’ve just got to be strong along the walls, make sure they can’t get to the front and just be strong. We can’t let them push us around in front of the net. We have to make sure we’re big for Hankie in front and let him see the shots.”
While the Bruins may not posses a player like the Rangers saw last series in Ovechkin, the Bruins do have one of the most balanced lineups in the NHL with four lines capable of doing damage on the scoreboard.
“I feel like they have a lot more skill throughout their lineup, and size,” defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “All good skating forwards. I think they don’t rely necessarily on one line to carry them at times. A different night, one line steps up, different players stepping up. You can’t fall asleep no matter who is out there.
“They play four lines, they roll them pretty good,” added Dan Girardi.” It’s going to create a challenge for us when they have four good lines going.”
The Rangers went 2-1 against the Bruins this season, but the two teams haven’t met since Feb. 12 in Boston. Since then, the Rangers have added players like Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore, while the Bruins have added former Ranger Jaromir Jagr.
“It was quite a while ago,” Richards said of the two teams’ last meeting, but that it doesn’t change the preparation for the series. “That team’s been the same type of team for three or four years now. There hasn’t been much change there. We’ve seen Boston since they won the cup that year ... There’s not going to be a lot of surprises.”
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