The Canadiens (6-5-0) are in the Big Apple for the Rangers’ (3-6-0) home opener at Madison Square Gardens. The game is set to start at 7:30 and airs on RDS and TSN-Habs.
This is the first of three games against the Rangers this year, the Habs will also end their season at home against New York on April 12. Last season, the Habs swept the Rangers in their 3-game season series. Carey Price earned a pair of shutouts facing the Rags last season and stopped 75 of 76 shots he over the three games.
What to Watch:
The Habs were shutout Thursday against the Sharks, a game which brought the 4-game point streak of Michael Bournival to an end.
After putting up 19 points between then in the first 6 games this year, the Kid line of Lars Eller, Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk have just 4 points combined in the last 5 games.
The Rangers are off to a rough start to the year and, as a result, not a single regular skater has a positive plus/minus rating. As a team they’ve scored just 15 goals in 9 games, and with 5 goals and 3 assists, Brad Richards has been implicated in more than half of them.
What’s at Stake:
The competition in the Atlantic division is already looking tough and the Habs will need to be better than they have been if they want to cruise into the playoffs. With four teams ahead of them and the Senators right behind them the Habs will need every point they can get, and the struggling New York Rangers represent a golden opportunity to pick up a pair.
Douglas Murray (upper body) and George Parros (concussion) have both participated in full practices and their returns to action seem imminent. Unfortunately, Travis Moen, who was his in the face with a puck on Thursday, did not join the team as the traveled to New York. Moen joins Max Pacioretty (hamstring), Alexei Emelin (knee), Brandon Prust (upper body), Daniel Briere (concussion) and Davis Drewiske (shoulder) in the Habs’ clinic.
The Rangers are missing Ryan Callahan (thumb) and Rick Nash (concussion). Carl Hagelin (shoulder) is also out but Henrik Lundqvist is slate to return for New York after missing the last two games.
The Rangers are the last team in the NHL to play their home opener this season. They’ve already played 9 road games while Madison Square Gardens was under renovation. Their road trip took them on a tour of California and then back East to face Washington, New Jersey, Philly and Detroit. The Rangers will stay close to home for the next few weeks, playing 7 of their next 9 games at MSG.
The Question Mark:
We want to hear from you, which injured Habs will have the biggest impact on the lineup when they return to action?
Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.