Rangers Look to Inflict More Misery on Montreal

The Rangers visit the Bell Centre in Montreal tonight, marking the second time that the Habs and Blueshirts have faced one another this season.

The Rangers prevailed in the first game back on Oct. 8 when Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 Montreal shots to get a 2-0 shutout victory at The Garden. Both teams faced each other in the first round of last spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs, but neither has fared particularly well out of the gates this season.

Montreal has been plagued by inconsistent goaltending, a revamped blueline that is struggling to find an identity and the lack of dominant play from the center-ice position. The Habs sport a sorry 2-7-1 record at the 10-game pole and reside at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Their issues are eerily similar to what has been going on with the Blueshirts, but there is reason for optimism on Broadway with the Rangers going on a 2-1-2 run in their last five games.

[Coverage of the Rangers-Canadiens Tilt Starts Tonight at 6:30 PM on MSG and MSG GO]

In their last outing — a 5-2 victory over Arizona — the Rangers dressed six defensemen and 12 forwards with each player slotted into a normal rotation. It seemed to pay dividends as both Ryan McDonagh and Nick Holden had their best games of the season on the blueline.

Recently recalled Boo Nieves debuted at The Garden with three assists centering Pavel Buchnevich and Micheal Grabner. Slotted as the fourth line, the trio accounted for a total of seven points. Nieves seems to have a skill set that fits nicely, allowing the Rangers to attack with speed and skill from the top to the bottom of their forward lineup.

KEYS

1. Pavelec

Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal for his first time as a Ranger in consecutive games. His win against the Coyotes was pretty simple and straight-forward. Simple and straight-forward will be needed in a building where things can get out of hand in a hurry.

2. Puck Management

Montreal is a team that wants to play an up-tempo game and will have their way if you don’t manage the puck. Turning it over into their speed will make for a long night.

3. Get to Price Early

The Canadiens as noted are struggling. Particularly goaltender Carey Price. Late in their last game, — a 4-0 loss to the Kings — sarcastic cheers rained down upon Price from the locals when he stopped a long distance shot. Having this emotional hometown crowd turn on their best player early would help the cause.

[Coverage of the Rangers-Canadiens Tilt Starts Tonight at 6:30 PM on MSG and MSG GO]

The Garden of Dreams Foundation helps kids facing obstacles in the Tri-State area, including Rangers fan Taylor Ryan who is battling a rare blood disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.