MONTREAL – With the Rangers paying a visit to the Bell Centre Saturday night, the Habs find themselves facing another team looking for a little payback. After giving up four power-play goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan.12, the Canadiens are ready to play smart hockey in what’s sure to be a high-tempo matchup.
“We’ve had a great penalty-kill all season, but during the game against Pittsburgh we had a bad night, especially with the number of chances that we gave them,” admitted Habs blue-liner Jaroslav Spacek of his team’s lack of discipline against the Penguins. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with our PK unit, but when a team has that many power-plays, you’re going to pay the price eventually and we have to do a better job of staying out of the box.”
After a lack of scoring and a series of slow starts in recent games, count on the Canadiens to be gunning for a big first period when the puck drops against the Rangers, Saturday night.
“We went into Madison Square Garden and won two points from them at home and now I’m sure they’re going to want to do the same thing to us tonight. It’s going to be a high-energy game, at home, on a Saturday night with a big two points at stake for both teams. There’s no excuse for us to come out flat,” pointed out P.K. Subban
who caused a stir during the club’s last meeting after being accused of being an agitator by the Rangers’ Brandon Dubinsky. “People are going to say whatever they want about me, but it’s really not my job to analyze what people are saying. Once you start doing that it’s easy to lose focus and get off your game. I’m just trying to play the game hard and play honestly.”
With them, the Rangers bring the best road-record in the NHL into Montreal, having posted 15 wins away from MSG so far this season. While the New York squad will be carrying their momentum from a 1-0 win over the elite Vancouver Canucks into Saturday’s game, the Habs will have a weapon that was missing from the teams’ last tilt: Michael Cammalleri.
“There’s already starting to be a big push from all the teams that are jockeying for position right now,” mentioned Cammalleri, who will be looking to make his return after missing the Habs’ last two games with Strep-throat. Cammalleri posted six goals and three assists in just three against the Rangers last season. “That’s the way the league’s going these days, you find yourself playing games in January that already feel like playoff games.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.ALSO READ:Get well soon The third outdoor rink inaugurated Notebook - Jan. 13, 2011 One and counting...