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Game Preview: Canadiens @ Rangers

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (16-5-1) @ RANGERS (8-7-4)

The Canadiens will try to further cement their lead atop the NHL standings on Sunday night when they take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

On Saturday night, Michel Therrien’s troops posted a 2-0 win over the Bruins in Boston to secure their third straight victory over their Atlantic Division rivals this season. Carey Price made 33 stops to register his second shutout of the year.

Dustin Tokarski will get the start in goal on Sunday night. It will be his sixth start of the season. The Canadiens’ backup netminder has been stellar when called upon in 2014-15, as evidenced by his .978 save percentage and his goals-against average of 1.78. Last Saturday night, Tokarski recorded his third win of the season.

The Watson, SK native will go up against the Rangers for the first time since the playoffs last spring, when he took over between the pipes for Price, who was injured in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Head coach Michel Therrien hasn’t yet confirmed whether or not the Canadiens will feature any lineup changes for the tilt against New York. On Saturday night, the Habs’ bench boss utilized seven defensemen and 11 forwards once again. Nathan Beaulieu and Drayson Bowman were both healthy scratches.

For their part, the Rangers will be playing their first game in four days. Their last outing was back on Wednesday, when they blanked the Flyers 2-0. Alain Vigneault’s club was supposed to take on the Sabres in Buffalo on Friday, but the game was postponed due to severe weather conditions in the area.

New York has struggled in the early part of the 2014-15 campaign, winning just eight of their first 19 games. Traditionally among the statistical leaders in goal, Henrik Lundqvist boasts a 2.78 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage on the season.

Up front, Rick Nash ranks third in the league with 13 goals.

Sunday night’s game will be the second meeting between the two teams this season. The Canadiens bested the Rangers 3-1 at the Bell Centre back on October 25.

Following the tilt in New York, the Canadiens will have four days off before hitting the ice against the Sabres in Buffalo next Friday night.

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