Montreal Canadiens (35-29-6) at New York
Rangers (31-29-9) –
Tuesday, March 16th, 2010.
The Montreal Canadiens make the trip to Madison
Square Garden to face the New York Rangers Tuesday night. Riding a
season-high 5-game winning streak, the Montreal Canadiens are one of the hottest
teams in the NHL, but the Rangers are desperately seeking to make up points in
the race for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens
currently hold a 5-point lead over the Rangers, but have played an extra game.
This will be the final time these two teams meet in the regular season, and the
Canadiens have won 2 out of the 3 games, both at home. The last time the
two teams met was on January 23rd; Mike Cammalleri had 4 points (2G, 2A),
Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves and the Habs trounced the Rangers 6-0. Since
the Olympic Break the Canadiens have gone 6-1-0, while the Rangers are
With only 2 games this week, one would assume
that Jaroslav Halak (22-10-2, 2.52 GAA, .922 SV%) will get the start in net,
especially since he earned a shutout the last time against the Rangers. Carey Price’s
play (13-19-4, 2.82 GAA, .911 SV%) has been strong of late, so it will be
interesting to see if Jacques Martin gives him a start this week to keep him
sharp down the stretch. Henrik Lundqvist (28-23-8, 2.45 GAA, .919 SV%)
will likely play in goal for the Rangers, and will be looking for redemption
after being pulled in his last game against Montreal. Lundqvist is an
all-time 10-5-2 against the Habs, while Halak is 4-3-0 against the Rangers.
Marking 4 points in the last 5 games, Tomas Plekanec remains the Canadiens’ leading scorer with 64
points (20G, 44A) through 70 games. This is even more impressive
considering that his linemate Mike Cammalleri
(26G, 22A) is still sidelined with injury, and Andrei
Kostitsyn (12G, 15A) is still finding his game after returning from a lengthy
injury. Scott Gomez (12G, 38A) and Brian Gionta (21G, 16A) round out the
scoring leaders for Montreal, and their line, including Benoit Pouliot (16G,
9A), has been a force to be reckoned with recently. Marian Gaborik (36G,
37A), Vinny Prospal (17G, 35A) and Olli Jokinen (13G, 31A) lead the way for the
Neither team has shown any scoring consistency,
but the Montreal offense (2.63 goals per game) fares slightly better than the
Rangers’ (2.59 goals per game). The two teams are similar defensively, but
in this case, the Rangers (2.68 GAA) hold the advantage over Montreal (2.74
GAA). Despite sorely missing MA Bergeron’s cannon from the point, Montreal
powerplay remains ranked 2nd overall (23.5%) while the Rangers fall in mid-pack
(18.8%). Both squads are adequate on the penalty-kill, but the Rangers
(83.6%) fare better than Montreal (83.1%) with a man short. In the season
series thus far, the Habs have converted 4 out of 14 powerplays while the
Rangers are 1 for 10. The Rangers have scored once shorthanded against
Montreal this year.
Even though the pair have been skating, Montreal will
still be missing Mike Cammalleri (MCL)
and MA Bergeron (knee). Both are eyeing a return in March. The Rangers
have no significant injuries at the time of this article.
The game can be seen on RDS and Versus.
Game-time is 7:30pm EST.
This preview was written by Matt