It’s hard to believe the New York Rangers won’t be the “Beast of the East” in the NHL. They made it to the Conference Finals last season before the “under the radar” New Jersey Devils knocked them out to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Rangers were able to add winger Rick Nash in the off-season and in my opinion, he’s the missing piece to this Rangers team. With an unproven winger like Nash in the playoffs, he will sure have plenty of time to rebuild his playoff reputation in New York.
Brad Richards has been battling the flu and is a game time decision in the season opener, I expect him to play. Marian Gaborik is healthy after being ruled out for the first 4 months of the season, the shortened season helped him and the Rangers tremendously.
The Boston Bruins on the other hand, Tim Thomas-less, will be seeking another deep playoff run. But, in order to do that they need to find a way to get past the Thomas drama and start winning again.
Tuukka Rask will be the starter this season and has already proven himself before being replaced by Tim Thomas. My problem with Rask though is, he has not been a starter since 2010, where he replaced Thomas. Will Rask handle the pressure knowing he is the starter and the future of the Bruins in net?
Another problem that persists for this Bruins team, consistency. Many will say they were in a state of “Stanley Cup Hangover” last season before going on a deep winning streak sneaking into the playoffs. At the same time, where they were knocked out of the quarter finals, which in my opinion had a lot to do with Tim Thomas not caring in between the pipes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Bruins will just roll over this season, they are built for winning but I expect them to have some issues in net with Rask this season, and comparing Rask vs Lundqvist, well, it’s a no brain-er.
When it comes to predicting a winner in this match up, I have NO choice but to back the New York Rangers in this game and throughout the season straight to the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately, in just a few days Vegas will realize this and the Rangers will be heavy money line favorites almost every game of this season.
So while they are still at just -115 odds, here at Pucking Hockey we will take the Rangers over the Bruins in the season opener. The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST in Boston.
New York Rangers -115 ($100)
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