“We’re playing against obviously one of the best goaltenders in the league and he made some good saves. So did our guy. It was one of those games.”
So said Rangers‘ head coach Alain Vigneault after a thrilling 3-2 shootout loss to tonight’s opponent, the Montreal Canadiens after these two Original Six teams last matched up. The Habs’ Carey Price robbed J.T. Miller in the dying seconds of a scintillating overtime period to send the game to the special skills session where Paul Byron ended it and secured the extra point for Montreal.
Not to be outdone by Price’s play, Henrik Lundqvist is coming off a “King-like” game in Boston where he single-handedly backstopped the Blueshirts to a 2-1 win. Hank made three bell ringing saves in the first period to allow his team to escape unscathed after being badly outplayed in the opening frame. Proving age is a state of mind, Lundqvist’s victory came on his 35th birthday. He certainly looked no worse for the wear.
Tonight’s game will be the third and final regular season meeting between Montreal and the Rangers but this might not be the last these teams see of each other. If the postseason were to begin today, they would meet in the first-round.
3 KEYS TO RANGERS-CANADIENS
The goaltending matchup doesn’t get much better than this one. Utilizing different styles, these world-class netminders give their team a chance to win every single night. And both are playing exceptionally well.
As we grind down to the spring and playoff time, the ice gets smaller and goals become harder to find. In their last five games, the Rangers and Canadiens have combined to score just 14 goals in regulation. Patience will be a virtue particularly with the quality of goaltending on display tonight.
The Rangers must establish a forecheck and force the Habs to spend more time in their end of the ice. The process will have a better chance of sustaining itself if the puck is kept away from Carey Price on the original entry. He handles it that well.
Rangers-Canadiens tonight on MSG Network (TV) and ESPN 98.7 FM (Radio). 6:30 pre-game, puck drop a little after 7.
Check it out!