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Game preview: Rangers vs. Canadiens

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (10-8-2) vs. RANGERS (9-9-0)

The Canadiens will play their second match in two days against the New York Rangers, Saturday night at the Bell Centre

Down two goals Friday night against the Blue Jackets, the Habs kept plugging and were rewarded. Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller evened the score, while David Desharnais was the hero in the shootouts, beating Curtis McElhinney to ensure a 3-2 victory.

Brendan Gallagher did not play on Friday, and is day-to-day with the flu. He'll be a gametime decision.

Alexei Emelin will play his first game of the year against the Rangers, drawing for Douglas Murray. The 27-year old blueliner has been out since April 6th with a knee injury.

After sitting out on Friday night against Columbus, Carey Price will be back between the posts for the Canadiens on Saturday. The Anahim Lake, BC native will look to recapture the form which led him to stop 44 of 45 shots faced last time out against Tamp Bay. He’s been good against the Rangers, compiling two shutouts and a minuscule 0.33 goals against average in his last three outings against the team.

The Broadway Blueshirts hit rock bottom when Montreal defeated the Rangers 2-0 in New York’s belated home opener on October 28, having only won three of the first ten games of the season. Since then, coach Alain Vigneault’s troops have clawed their way back to 0.500 with six wins and only two losses. Brad Richards and Derek Stepan have led the way offensively for the team with 15 and 13 points respectively, while speedy wingers Chris Kreider and Carl Hagelin and producing at point-per-game pace despite missing a few games. On the blueline, the team depends on the rock-solid troika of Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi to keep opposing forwards at bay.

The Rangers will be well-rested for Saturday’s tilt at the Bell Centre, having played their last game Tuesday against the Devils. Marc Staal and Dan Girardi scored for New York, but a late Dainius Zubrus goal helped New Jersey to a 3-2 win over its Metropolitan Division rival. Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves on the loss.

Rick Nash (concussion) and Dominic Moore (strained oblique) are practicing with the team, but only Moore is likely to participate in the game against Montreal.

Cam Talbot will start for the Rangers.

Saturday night will be the second of three meeting this season between the Habs and the Rangers. The Canadiens will look to extend its Bell Centre winning streak against the Rangers to nine games, dating back to March 2009. Remarkably, the Habs have only allowed three goals in the last seven of these games.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.

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