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Daily Primer Nov. 16: Rangers look for win in Montreal

by John Kreiser

The New York Rangers always have struggled to beat the Montreal Canadiens, especially on the road. During the past four seasons they've found scoring in Montreal a real challenge.

The Rangers take an eight-game losing streak at Bell Centre into their game Saturday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC, RDS). Five of those eight losses, including four of the past five, have been shutouts.

In all the Canadiens have won 202 and tied 40 of the 306 games between the teams in Montreal, where the Rangers haven't won since a 4-3 shootout victory March 17, 2009. New York's last regulation win at Montreal was a 5-3 victory Feb. 3, 2008.

Here's a complete look at all of the action on the schedule Saturday:

Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs -- These teams are playing the back end of a home-and-home series that began with a 3-1 victory for the Sabres on Friday in their first game under interim coach Ted Nolan. The victory also enabled the Sabres to climb out of 30th place in the League standings. The Maple Leafs, now 11-7-1, are starting to come back to earth a bit after a fast start. They'll be without Nazem Kadri for the second game of a three-game suspension, meaning that Toronto will be missing its top three centers; Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland are sidelined due to injuries. Peter Holland was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday to help shore up the position.

Detroit Red Wings at New York Islanders -- The Red Wings probably are happy to be on the road; they're winless in their past seven (0-1-6) at Joe Louis Arena, including a 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday in which they couldn't hold a 3-1 lead in the third period. The good news was that Johan Franzen scored twice and Detroit got all three goals from its secondary scorers. The Islanders know about problems at home; they're coming off a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday in which they blew a 2-0 third-period lead. New York has dropped five of its past six games.

New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens -- New coach Alain Vigneault is following the practice of his predecessor, John Tortorella, and giving Henrik Lundqvist the night off in Montreal. Lundqvist may be all-world everywhere else, but he's 4-5-2 with a 3.87 goals-against average and .876 save percentage at Bell Centre. His last appearance there was Jan. 15, 2012. Rookie Cam Talbot will play instead. The Canadiens used Peter Budaj in their 3-2 shootout win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, meaning Carey Price will be rested and ready. Price has four career shutouts against the Rangers and blanked New York in both visits last season.

Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils -- The Penguins finally snapped out of their offensive funk Friday, beating the road-weary Nashville Predators 4-1. The four goals were one more than the Penguins had scored in their three previous games combined. They also are four more than the Devils managed Friday against the visiting Los Angeles Kings, who left Newark with a 2-0 victory. Martin Brodeur is expected to start in goal for New Jersey; he's 4-1-0 in his past five games and has allowed four goals in that span.

Carolina Hurricanes at St. Louis Blues -- The good news for the Hurricanes is that they're riding a 4-0-1 streak. The bad news is that all five of those games were played at home -- and now they go to Scottrade Center, one of the toughest places in the NHL for visiting teams. Carolina completed its homestand Friday by beating the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in a shootout when Chris Terry scored in the third round. The Blues had a day off to savor a 7-3 pummeling of the Colorado Avalanche at home, where they are 8-1-2. Alexander Steen leads the NHL with 16 goals, twice as many as he scored in 40 games last season.

Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators -- After seven games and 17 days on the road, the Predators are back at Bridgestone Arena -- for one night. They head right back out of town for games against the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. The seven-game trip got off to a 2-0-1 start but ended with an 0-4-0 crash in which Nashville was outscored 17-2, including 4-1 in Pittsburgh on Friday. Chicago is 5-0-1 this month after a 5-4 shootout win at home against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday. The Blackhawks go home to face the San Jose Sharks on Sunday before hitting the road for a seven-game trip of their own.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Phoenix Coyotes -- The Lightning are 2-0-0 without injured star Steven Stamkos, who broke his right leg Monday against the Boston Bruins, and 7-0-0 against the Western Conference as they begin a swing through Arizona and California. Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop's 13 wins are the most in the NHL. Getting win No. 14 might not be easy; the Coyotes are 8-0-1 at Arena, making them one of two teams that hasn't lost in regulation at home, along with the Anaheim Ducks. But to keep winning they can't allow 52 shots as they did in Chicago on Thursday. It was the third time this season the Coyotes have allowed 50 or more shots in a game.

Florida Panthers at Colorado Avalanche -- The Panthers need a better start than they had against the Minnesota Wild on Friday if they hope to beat the Avalanche (14-4-0). Florida trailed 2-0 before the end of the first period; the Panthers scored twice in the third period to get even but allowed Charlie Coyle's goal with less than nine minutes remaining and left Xcel Energy Center with a 3-2 loss, dropping interim coach Peter Horachek's record to 1-3-0. The Avalanche are back home after a tough 2-1 loss at Carolina and a 7-3 walloping in St. Louis -- their first back-to-back losses of the season.

Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames -- One side of the Battle of Alberta will leave Scotiabank Saddledome having ended a five-game losing streak. The Oilers come to Calgary after a 3-1 home loss to the San Jose Sharks on Friday in which the only good news was a power-play goal by Nail Yakupov in the second period that averted a fourth consecutive home shutout. Calgary coach Bob Hartley kept his players off the ice Friday after the Dallas Stars routed the Flames 7-3 at home the night before, hoping a regimen of meetings, video sessions and off-ice activity would be more productive than a bag skate.

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