Rangers-Bruins Preview

Henrik Lundqvist understandably is eager to get back in net after a nearly two-month recovery, but New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault will have the final decision when Lundqvist receives his next start.

The Boston Bruins don’t care who the opposing goaltender is Saturday at TD Garden, so long as they can find a way to end a six-game losing streak that is threatening their playoff chances.

Lundqvist has been dealing with a blood vessel issue in his neck and hasn’t played since beating Florida on Feb. 2. He was activated from injured reserve and served as the backup Thursday against Ottawa, as Cam Talbot made 23 saves to help the Rangers (47-19-7) clinch a playoff berth with a 5-1 victory.

Talbot has gone 16-4-3 with a 2.16 goals-against average in 23 games since Lundqvist went down as New York surged to the top of the Eastern Conference. Lundqvist, though, is expected to take over his No. 1 role and will get the nod either in this contest or Sunday at home against Washington.

Vigneault isn’t expected to name the starter against the Bruins (36-25-13) until Saturday morning.

"I’m getting really excited to play, just a few days away," Lundqvist said before Thursday’s game. "It’s been a long break."

The Rangers’ luxury of having a pair of solid goaltenders to choose from is a problem unlike Boston’s inability to pick up valuable victories. The Bruins have gone 0-3-3 following a five-game winning streak after falling 3-2 in overtime to Anaheim on Thursday.

They’re tied with Ottawa for the East’s final wild-card spot, but the Senators have played one fewer game.

"I think it’s playoffs for us right now," defenseman Torey Krug told the team’s official website. "When you lose a game of a playoff series, you put it behind you, you learn from it and try to make adjustments. It’s kind of the way we’re approaching things (now)."

David Krejci returned to the lineup after missing the previous 15 games with a partially torn MCL, and he played wing for the first time in his career on the top line with Brad Marchand and center Patrice Bergeron.

Ryan Spooner scored to give him six goals and seven assists since being called up from the minors to replace Krejci. Coach Claude Julien plans to keep Thursday’s lines intact for now.

No matter the lineup, Boston knows it needs to pick up as many points as possible over the final eight games.

"I think we have to find ways to use that frustration and desperation to our advantage," Bergeron said. "No one feels sorry for ourselves around the league. It’s about us finding a way to win the games and to move forward."

The Rangers, who have won 17 of 22, needed only 18 saves from Talbot to win the most recent meeting 3-2 on Feb. 4. Talbot also was in net in Boston on Jan. 15 as Tuukka Rask made 30 saves in the Bruins’ 3-0 win.

"Against a team like the Rangers, who have a lot of firepower and are playing really, really well as of late, we’re going to have to find ways to score some goals," forward Milan Lucic said. "We just have to believe in each other that we can come out with some wins and get ourselves in the playoffs."

Rask is 8-2-0 with a 1.84 GAA in his last 10 against New York, including the playoffs.