NEW YORK - Here are five things you need to know ahead of Friday's game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
1. This will be the Canadiens' second game in two nights. On Thursday, the Habs fell 3-2 to the Colorado Avalanche at the Bell Centre in goaltender Cayden Primeau and defenseman Otto Leskinen's NHL debuts. Montreal went down 3-0 just after the 28-minute mark of the game, but clawed its way back into the contest off Brendan Gallagher's 12th goal of the season and Nick Cousins' third-period power play marker. Primeau made 32 saves in his first career NHL game, while Leskinen finished with a plus-1 differential, a pair of hits, and one blocked shot in 7:37 of action.
2. Gallagher's 12th goal padded his lead on the team, with forward Joel Armia coming in next with 10. However, the alternate captain isn't the Habs' leading goal-scorer against the Rangers; that would be captain Shea Weber, who's netted seven markers in 19 career games against the Blueshirts. Center Phillip Danault leads Montreal with 11 career points (4G, 7A) in 12 games.
3. When head coach Claude Julien announced that Primeau would be getting the start against the Avs, the Habs bench boss also let it be known that No. 1 goalie Carey Price would be in nets to face the Rangers. That's good news for the Canadiens, as Price holds a dazzling 18-8-1 record against New York, with a 2.21 goals-against average, .926 save percentage, and seven shutouts to go with it. The news isn't all good, however, as center Jesperi Kotkaniemi left the Colorado game in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. During his pregame media availability, Julien told reporters that Kotkaniemi had suffered a concussion and is resting at home after being released from hospital. The coach said that Charles Hudon would dress against the Rangers, that Nick Suzuki would move over to center, and that Max Domi would take Kotkaniemi's spot between Artturi Lehkonen and Armia. Julien will be going with the same defense corps he deployed on Thursday.
4. The Rangers were also in action on Thursday night, besting the Blue Jackets 3-2 in Columbus. Forward Artemi Panarin scored the eventual game-winner in his first game back in Ohio since joining the Rangers in the summer, while Brendan Lemieux and Jacob Trouba also lit the lamp for New York. Panarin leads the Rangers with 13 goals and 34 points in 2019-20. Goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 45 saves in the win.
5. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. You can catch all the action on TSN2 and RDS on television, and on TSN 690 and 98,5 fm on the radio.