Conference Final Revenge? That might be on the minds of many Habs fans, but the players claim it’s just another game in a long season as they try to improve to 7-1
on the year on Saturday night against the New York Rangers. Nevertheless, a comprehensive victory would be highly satisfying for the Montreal Canadiens and the fans.
A victory would be especially sweet since the ascendancy of Rangers Captain Ryan
McDonagh is still a sore point with many of the Montreal faithful. Les Canadiens are coming off an exciting OT win against Detroit (at least the end of the 3rd period and the OT were exciting) that featured excellent goaltending by
Carey Price and strong games from Alex Galchenyuk, in beast mode for the tying goal;
David Desharnais, with a beauty to win it in OT and Max Pacioretty who didn’t save face, but made a great save with his face.
New York is also on a bit of a roll, having also earned a comeback victory in OT
in their last outing back on Tuesday night. They erased a 3-1 third period
Devils lead with goals by Rick Nash and Chris Mueller with defenceman Kevin
Klein scoring the OT winner. Nash, widely considered a bust last season, is on fire leading the NHL with eight goals in seven games.
1. Can Les Canadiens get and hold a lead? Against Detroit they managed to get out of the first period with a zero-zero tie, but given
Henrik Lundqvist’s traditionally strong play against Montreal, an early lead would be a welcome change.
2. Will they continue to tighten up in the defensive zone?
3. Will the powerplay continue its resurgence?
4. Will P-A Parenteau start burying some of the great chances generated for him by his linemates?
5. Will Dale Weise be able to spark Rene Bourque and Lars Eller into becoming consistent threats in the offensive zone? Not to mention, being better defensively?
6. Will anyone go after Chris Kreider if he gets too close to Price?
Given the time off and Michel Therrien’s propensity for sticking with a winning line up
– not to mention Nathan Beaulieu and Michael Bournival being sent down to Hamilton for some playing time
– it seems likely that the lineup will remain the same as the one which faced
Fearless prediction: The Habs find a way to eke out a 7th win and depart for a 3 game Western Canada road trip on a high
– improving on what is already their best start since 1977-78 – but many Habs fans
will still be unhappy.
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk – Tomas Plekanec – P-A Parenteau
Rene Bourque – Lars Eller – Dale Weise
Brandon Prust – Manny Malhotra – Travis Moen
Alexei Emelin – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Tom Gilbert
Jarred Tinordi – Mike Weaver
Scratches: Jiri Sekac
Chris Kreider – Kevin Hayes – Rick Nash
Mats Zuccarello – Derick Brassard – Martin St. Louis
Carl Hagelin – Dominic Moore – Anthony Duclair
Tanner Glass – Chris Mueller – Lee Stempniak
Ryan McDonagh – Dan Girardi
Marc Staal – Kevin Klein
John Moore – Matt Hunwick
Scratches: Mike Kostka, Ryan Malone
Injuries: Dan Boyle, Derek Stepan
Puck drop is at 7 PM and can be seen on TVA
Sports and City TV.