NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, March 18th
(All times eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (39-25-7) at New York Rangers (37-30-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - If the Canadiens can rally for the Northeast Division
title, there is a chance they could face the Rangers in the opening round of
That would be just fine with the Habs.
Montreal will try to inch closer to the division's top spot and sweep its
season series with New York for the first time in eight years this evening at
Madison Square Garden.
The Canadiens have put together a solid 8-3-0 run in their past 11 games to
draw within three points of both the first-place Bruins and fourth-seeded
Lightning. Boston, though, already has one game in hand over Montreal and is
idle tonight, while Tampa and the Canadiens both have 11 games left.
Still, the Habs were able to move a little closer to the Bruins with last
night's 3-2 shootout victory over the Lightning. Brian Gionta and Andrei
Kostitsyn scored in regulation, while Mike Cammalleri supplied the shootout-
winner in the fourth round.
Carey Price made 35 saves in the win, which came without Jeff Halpern and
Tomas Plekanec due to lower-body injuries as well as Hall Gill (flu-like
symptoms) and Brent Sopel (left hand). Halpern and Plekanec were not expected
to travel with the team to New York.
"It was a gutsy win," Cammalleri said. "I don't know if we were playing great
defensively, but we'll take the two points -- a desperate two points for
Montreal, which is seven points up on the seventh-place Rangers, has won five
of its last six on the road and has outscored the Blueshirts, 16-4, over its
current five-game series winning streak. The Habs can sweep the four-game
season series tonight for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
The Canadiens have won their last two at MSG.
Price made 35 saves in a 2-0 home win in the last meeting with the Rangers on
Feb. 5. He is 3-1-1 with a 2.46 goals-against average lifetime versus New York
and has yielded just two goals on 68 shots in two victories over the club this
The Rangers will try to avoid the sweep and pick up their fifth victory in six
games tonight after besting the New York Islanders, 6-3, on Tuesday.
Marian Gaborik scored twice, while Ryan Callahan, Erik Christensen and Bryan
McCabe both had a goal and an assist. Thirteen Ranger skaters ended with
points in the victory.
"This time of year, especially with the standings so tight, every game means
so much," said Callahan. "We have to put a lot of wins together to make the
playoffs and in order to do that we have to come out strong every night."
Henrik Lundqvist ended with 25 saves. He is 10-8-2 with a 2.94 GAA in his
career against the Habs and is trying to record at least 30 wins for a sixth
New York is seventh overall in the Eastern Conference, two points up on
eighth-place Buffalo and just four clear of the ninth-place Hurricanes.
03/18 11:05:23 ET