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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers meet Tuesday night in a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
But is it a must win game for the B’s?
“I think it’s important that they play well. I don’t know if it’s a game they have to win. The Rangers are on a good run, and they’ve created a little separation,” 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Bruins play-by-play man Dave Goucher told Toucher & Rich Tuesday morning. “They have to continue to try to play well, like they did against Nashville… They have to try to build some momentum here. It’s been too much of ‘one good game, two bad games’ over the last month or so. They have to play better, and play like they did Saturday.”
The Rangers currently own a seven point lead over the Bruins for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, a lead that was just one point when the two teams met back in January. But the Bruins are just 4-4 since their OT loss to New York, with the Rangers going 6-2.
Read: Bruins-Rangers Preview
Goucher thinks it’s just a little mid-season slump, and the B’s could turn the corner at any point.
“I’d like to believe it’s a little more of the dog days of the season. If you look last year right around this time, they went into a little bit of a lull,” he said. “Then it was the six-game road trip –which they’re going to start tomorrow (in Montreal) — they swept all six games on it. That seemed to give them the jolt they needed for the rest of the season and the rest into June.”
“They’re a better team than what they’ve shown the last month. The concerning thing for me is you look at their losses this year. They’ve lost 17 games in regulation, and 12 have come against non-playoff teams,” said Goucher. “The better the teams they’ve played, the better they play. I guess that’s a good thing, and it’s a good challenge for them tonight against the Rangers and the road trip coming up.”
Stats: Bruins-Rangers Head to Head
As the February 27 trade deadline approaches, Goucher would like to see Peter Chiarelli add a few more pieces like he did last season, but that might be a lot tougher this year.
“I do think they’ll be active. I would like to see them add a forward or maybe two. What throws a wrench into some of this is the Nathan Horton situation. It was frustrating and disappointing to hear he suffered a setback the other day. You look at how valuable he was for the Bruins last year in the playoffs and all the huge goals he scored. Hopefully he is able to come back and contribute, but I’d like to see them add maybe a forward or two, and a defenseman as well.”
There are names like Travis Moen and Hall Gill out there, but with more teams in the playoff hunt, there will not be as many sellers this time around.
“It will take a little creative maneuvering on Peter Chiarelli’s part, and I think that is something he is more than capable of doing. But right now there are more teams in the race that it makes it more difficult.”
“However they’re able to do it, [they need to do something],” said Goucher. “They talk a lot about their depth; I’d like to see them add to that depth.”
Hear more from Dave Goucher, including when Tuukka Rask should take over in net…
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