MONTREAL – The Habs get set to kick off their annual family weekend that sees them playing two afternoon games in as many days by hosting the Rangers at the Bell Centre on Saturday.
While the Canadiens currently hold two games in hand over the Rangers, they only lead the New York squad by a single point in the Eastern Conference standings and could potentially drop back to seventh place with a loss in Saturday afternoon’s tilt.
“It’s going to be a four point game and we’re only leading them right now by a single point – this is a game that’s crucial for both teams. We’ve played two great games against them that were really exciting this season, and I expect this one won’t be any different,” explained Habs’ head-coach Jacques Martin as he weighed in on his club first adversary of the weekend.
“There are a lot of common denominators between our teams right now. As an organization they’ve changed their identity a bit over the years and become more of a blue-collar team now that always shows up, works hard and is responsible defensively. It’s really a refection of their coach.”
One player on the Canadiens roster who couldn’t agree more is center Scott Gomez
will be looking for his first point of the season against his former club when the puck drops Saturday at 2:00pm.
“When you’ve lost a couple of games and you’re on a bit of a slide there’s really no better place to get your spark back than at the Bell Centre with the crowd and the atmosphere,” explained Gomez who suited up for Ranger for during the 2008-09 season. “They have a great coaching staff and I don’t doubt that they’re going to be ready tomorrow. Tortorella will find a way to get them going and I’m sure it’s going to be a big challenge for us to get the win.”
The Rangers will be coming to town with a score to settle against the Habs who bested them in both of their previous encounters this year. The teams’ last meeting that also took place at the Bell Centre on Jan. 15, was a emotional game for both clubs that most memorably included a confrontation between Max Pacioretty
and Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist.
“Our past history against them doesn't matter,” promised Habs’ defenseman P.K. Subban
. “We're both in a tight race right now and we're both going to be playing for a big 2 points come Saturday afternoon.”Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.ALSO READ:
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