CANADIENS (10-4-1) at RANGERS (8-5-1)
TV: RDS, TSN-HABS, MSG
Last 10: Montreal 6-3-1; New York 7-2-1.
Season series: This is the first of three meetings.
Big story: The Canadiens bring a four-game win streak to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. With 10 wins in its first 15 games, Montreal now sits atop the Northeast Division with 21 points – one point ahead of Boston and Toronto.
Canadiens: Montreal moved into first place in the Northeast on Monday night thanks to its fourth straight win. Peter Budaj received a rare start and made the most of it, stopping all 19 shots he faced for his 10th career shutout, while Brandon Prust broke a scoreless tie in the third period in a 3-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre.
“I mentioned to the team between the second and third [periods] that good teams feel comfortable playing in these types of games, they want to play these types of games,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. “The players responded well.”
Rangers: New York is also playing well, as it enters Tuesday’s action having won four of its last five games. The only blemish was a 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders last Thursday, when the Blueshirts blew a 2-0 lead. But they responded with a 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals at MSG on Sunday night.
"I think we're getting to where we need to be," said Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who made 27 saves and now has a 2.35 goals-against average and .917 save percentage after a shaky first few games. "We're doing a lot of good things. It pays off, so I don't know if you want to call it ‘on a roll' here. It's a good feeling when we play the way we should and it pays off."
Who’s hot: Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec has scored in back-to-back contests. … Rangers winger Carl Hagelin has scored in four straight games. He has five goals and two assists over that span.
Injury report: The Canadiens are expected to be without Brendan Gallagher (concussion) and Petteri Nokelainen (back) … New York will be without Darroll Powe, who was placed on injured reserve Monday after suffering a concussion against Washington. The Rangers promoted Brandon Mashinter from Connecticut of the American Hockey League.