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5 Keys: Canadiens at Rangers, Game 3

New York aims to turn it around on home ice; Montreal moves Alex Galchenyuk to third-line center

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

CANADIENS at RANGERS

7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports, MSG 

Best-of-7 series tied 1-1

 

NEW YORK -- The Montreal Canadiens avoided going down two games in dramatic fashion and look to take a 2-1 lead against the New York Rangers in their Eastern Conference First Round series going into Game 3 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

The Rangers struggled a bit down the stretch in their home rink but are hoping their crowd will help them turn the series back in their favor.

 

[RELATED: Complete Canadiens vs. Rangers series coverage]

 

Here are 5 keys for Game 3:

 

1. Prove it's your house

After getting a split in Montreal, the Rangers need to seize the chance they've been presented with Games 3 and 4 being played at the Garden, where they were 21-16-4 during the regular season.

"It's always fun to get that opportunity to be able to play a playoff game in your home rink," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. "Especially here in New York, MSG, it's going to be a great atmosphere. We were pretty anxious to get here for the morning skate and start focusing for tonight.

"We're just anxious to hear that crowd and get a couple of bumps and first puck touches, and that'll kind of help everybody settle down and start playing again. We're anxious here; it's kind of a new start for us as far as our regular-season home record, and we're trying to play well in front of our fans."

Video: NYR@MTL, Gm2: Nash goes top shelf to knot the score

 

2. Take advantage on the man-advantage

Neither the Rangers nor Canadiens have been able to score on the power play through the first two games of this series; each team is 0-for-7. The chances of winning the series increase exponentially for the team that breaks through on the man-advantage.

"Special teams is huge obviously, but teams are so well prepared just with video and scouting reports that everyone's tendencies are pretty known to all the teams," Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey said. "I think you've just got to find a way to get pucks to the net and hope to get one by the goalie. 

"In this series, both goalies have played so well. It's going to be tough."

 
3. Alex Galchenyuk in the middle

Galchenyuk played the majority of the first two games as the fourth-line left wing, but he enters Game 3 as the third-line center. Galchenyuk was Montreal's third-leading scorer during the regular season with 44 points (17 goals, 27 assists) in 61 games.

"I think it changes a little bit my mindset when I play wing and center, it's a little bit different," Galchenyuk said. "But at the same time, it could be a big difference and it could be none. I try not to think about it too much. It's still the same system and the same game of hockey out there no matter if I'm on left side or in the middle. Me and [Andrew Shaw] talk about it, it's whoever is first in the D zone, he plays center or whoever forechecks. It's like having two centers on one line."

Video: NYR@MTL, Gm2: Lundqvist stones Lehkonen, Galchenyuk

 

4. Going with experience

After being a healthy scratch for the first two games, Canadiens forward Torrey Mitchell will make his series debut. Mitchell, 32, has played in 72 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Canadiens, Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks.

"It's difficult, because you want to be out there helping your teammates," Mitchell said. "I've got the opportunity tonight, and moving forward I'm excited."

 

5. Can momentum carry over from Game 2?

The Canadiens were 18 seconds away from being down 2-0 in this series before Tomas Plekanec tied it and Alexander Radulov scored in overtime for a 4-3 win in Game 2. But can the Canadiens really bring that momentum across the border as the series shifts to New York?

"Absolutely," captain Max Pacioretty said. "People say players are streaky or vice versa, and that's because this whole game is based off feel, it's based off momentum, it's based off chemistry. To be able to get into a little bit of rhythm is very, very important. It's more of an individual thing, I think. If you're selfish and kind of worry about your own game and everyone has that attitude, it should make for a good team game."

Video: NYR@MTL, Gm2: Radulov stuffs home OT winner

 
Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov

Paul Byron -- Tomas Plekanec -- Brendan Gallagher

Artturi Lehkonen -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Andrew Shaw

Dwight King -- Steve Ott -- Torrey Mitchell

Andrei Markov -- Shea Weber

Jordie Benn -- Jeff Petry 

Nathan Beaulieu -- Brandon Davidson

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Andreas Martinsen, Michael McCarron, Brian Flynn, Nikita Nesterov

Injured: Alexei Emelin (lower body)

 

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey -- Mika Zibanejad -- Rick Nash

J.T. Miller -- Kevin Hayes -- Michael Grabner

Tanner Glass -- Oscar Lindberg -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Marc Staal -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Brendan Smith

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Adam Clendening, Kevin Klein, Steven Kampfer, Matt Puempel, Pavel Buchnevich

Injured: None

 

Status report

Emelin, who hasn't played since April 5, did not make the trip but is skating in Montreal. … Davidson will make his series debut. … Buchnevich and Pirri stayed late on the ice at the morning skate, an indication neither will play. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault declined to divulge any information regarding potential lineup changes. 

 

Who's hot

Radulov has three points (goal, two assists) in this series. … Grabner scored in each of the first two games.

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