Canadiens (16-4-2) vs. RANGERS (16-3-2)
TV: RDS, SNE, SNO - 7:00 p.m.
The Canadiens and the Rangers face off in a heavy-weight bout Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden with first place in the Eastern Conference standings on the line.
The Rangers present a good challenge for Michel Therrien’s troops, as New York has won nine consecutive home games for the first time in team history since 1971.
In their last outing, the Habs defeated the New York Islanders on home ice by the score of 4-2 Sunday night, with all four goals scored by the Canadiens’ special teams units. Defenseman P.K. Subban had two assists in the victory, including a perfect cross ice pass to Alex Galchenyuk who found the back of the net for the first time since October 29, 2015 against the Oilers. In the Canadiens’ crease, Carey Price made 21 saves on 23 shots against the Islanders to earn his ninth win of the season.
In their most recent outing, coach Alain Vigneault led the Rangers to a 3-0 shutout victory over the Nashville Predators. With another two points added to their season totals the Rangers replaced the Canadiens atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Henrik Lundqvist was perfect in the contest, turning aside all of the 31 shots the Predators threw on net. Kevin Hayes lead the way scoring a goal and adding an assist in the victory. In addition, Derek Stepan and Rick Nash found the back of the net for the blue-shirts.
On the injury front, the Canadians will be deprived of the services of forward Brendan Gallagher, who will miss the next six weeks after fracturing two fingers on his left hand. Moreover, Torrey Mitchell is expected to miss seven to ten days with a lower body injury. Devante Smith-Pelly subsequently took Gallagher’s place alongside Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty on the Habs’ top line. The 23-year-old winger, who is presently ranked 5th for the team lead in hits, has a goal and five assists in 21 games so far in 2015-2016.
Wednesday night’s contest features two of the top goalies in the National Hockey League; Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist.
The Canadiens superstar sports a record of 9-2-0 since the start of the season with a goals-against average of 2.10 in addition to a save percentage of .933.
The man known simply as King Henrik has had an exceptional start to his season, as evidenced by his record of 12-3-2, combined with a goals-against average of 1.74 and a save percentage of .946 percentage.
Puck drop at Madison Square Garden is set for 7:00 p.m.