Rangers lead 2-0
On Thursday night, the Habs will look to close the gap against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Monday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens’ forwards threatened early and often, but were thwarted by Henrik Lundqvist, who only allowed one goal on 41 shots against. After Max Pacioretty scored midway in the first period, Ryan McDonaugh, Rick Nash and Martin St-Louis lit the lamp to help the visiting team to a 3-1 triumph. Dustin Tokarski, making his first career playoff start in replacement for the injured Carey Price, made 27 saves on 30 shots faced. He will be in net for Game 3, according to coach Michel Therrien.
The loss overshadowed the strong play of P.K. Subban and the Pacioretty-Desharnais-Gallagher line. Subban led all skaters with 29:40 played in Game 2 and added a game-high nine shots on net. Meanwhile, the Habs’ top offensive unit generated 23 shooting attempts while conceding only three to the Rangers while it was on the ice. At five-on-five, the Canadiens generated more scoring chances than their opponents and held over 63% of shot attempts, up from 49% in Game 1.
The main area of concern for Montreal, headed into the Big Apple, is whether they can find a way to solve Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist has made 60 saves on 63 shots faced so far in the series for a 0.952 save percentage. Two of the Habs’ three goals in the series so far came on net drives by power forwards (Bourque in Game 1 and Pacioretty in Game 2). Montreal’s other goal was a Lars Eller turnaround slap shot which fooled Lundqvist high glove side.
The special teams battle will also be an important factor going forward. On the man advantage, the Rangers have scored four goals in the first two games. Meanwhile, the Habs went 0-3 on the powerplay in Game 2 and 0-3 in Game 1. If adjustments in this area are made in time for Thursday’s game, then the Canadiens could have a real chance of stealing a win in the Rangers’ own building.
Puck drop will be at 8:00PM E.S.T.