The Rangers visit Montreal for the only time this season in an original six showdown (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG2).
The Blueshirts are coming off being shutout by the only team to allow 100 goals thus far. The Rangers were missing a few bodies up front including Mats Zuccarello, Vladislav Namestnikov, Pavel Buchnevich and even Cody McLeod and it showed. The offense generated very few scoring chances and they never really got going. They’ll have to put in a better effort as they won’t get any forwards returning for tonight’s game.
“When things didn’t go well, we made them worse,” said head coach David Quinn.
With a loss Thursday night, the Rangers have now been defeated in nine of twelve road games this season.
“I feel like it’s not just one game, it’s starting to become a road thing and that’s something we need to adjust and correct real quick,” said Henrik Lundqvist, who made 31 saves in a losing effort. We’ve been playing really well at home – on the road, we need to do the little things really well.”
When asked about the differences between playing on home ice and on the road, Lundqvist believes that it is just a mental difference. “Well, that’s just mental,” said Lundqvist. “And mental is about preparation… It’s not technical at all… You might have a certain way to prepare yourself at home, but on the road you gotta do whatever you gotta do to be in the same mindset.”
“I know we’re a young team, but we’ve got to figure out how to play on the road… There’s no road way to play, there’s no home way to play – there’s a right way to play.”
Kevin Shattenkirk was benched for the entire third period and Quinn simply stated “That is between Kevin and I.”
The Blueshirts won the first meeting this season 5-3 by using a three goal third period to come from behind. Neal Pionk had the game winning goal late in the third period going end-to-end.
Montreal is currently on a five game losing streak (0-3-2) but have recently got a jolt as Shea Weber made his season debut this past Tuesday. Weber missed the first 24 games due to surgery on a torn meniscus.
The Canadiens spent much of Friday’s practice working on their power play. Their power play currently sits second to last in the league but Shea Weber’s return should see an improvement. Weber has 214 career power play points which ranks fifth among active defensemen.
Carey Price will get the nod for the Habs. Price continues to struggle statistically this season having just shy of a .900 save percentage.
Alex Georgiev will get the start for the Blueshirts in Montreal. Georgiev is coming allowed four goals on 31 shots in his last start against the Capitals. Georgiev made his NHL debut in Montreal last year in a 3-1 losing effort. The Russian goalie made 38 saves, the most saves made by the a Rangers goalie in their debut in franchise history.
“I remember a couple good saves, and a couple good goals they scored,” Georgiev said. “But also before the game, coming out there to check out the banners. Pretty amazing feeling to play in that building.”
Vinni Lettieri has been recalled from Hartford. Lettieri was sent down in mid-November after registering no points. Lettieri will likely play the fourth line with Gettinger and Fogarty.
Adam McQuaid is getting healthier and appears to be just a few weeks away from being able to return from injury.