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5 Keys: Canadiens at Rangers, Game 4

New York needs more offense, especially on power play; Montreal hopes to weather storm on road

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

CANADIENS at RANGERS

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

Montreal leads best-of-7 series 2-1

 

NEW YORK -- The Montreal Canadiens look to take a 3-1 lead against the New York Rangers in their Eastern Conference First Round series in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

The Rangers have lost six straight home games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and will need to find ways to generate offense if they plan on guaranteeing themselves at least one more home game this season.

Here are 5 keys for Game 4:

 

1. Special teams

The Rangers went 0-for-3 on the power play in Game 3 and haven't scored in 10 opportunities in this series. They have managed 11 shots on goal in those 10 chances. Not only are they failing to make life difficult for Canadiens goalie Carey Price, they're having a tough time even setting up in the offensive zone. The Canadiens scored two power-play goals in Game 3.

"Our power play has had quite a few areas where it hasn't executed so far," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "When we finished off the season our power play was giving us momentum, giving us timely goals. I'm very confident that tonight we're going to turn it around."

Video: The guys preview the Rangers vs Canadiens

 

2. Home struggles

The Rangers struggled down the stretch of the regular season at home, and it appears to have carried into the playoffs with a 3-1 loss in Game 3 in which they were limited to 12 shots through the first two periods and 21 for the game. They know that's not enough against a goalie like Price.

"Playoff hockey is all about how you respond," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. "You can have a tough outing and come back and play great. That's a beautiful thing about playoff hockey, a series can change on a dime. That's what we have to do tonight."

 

3. Weathering the storm

The Canadiens didn't give Rangers fans much to get loud about for much of Game 3, and that has to be part of the plan again Tuesday. But the Canadiens fully expect the Rangers to come out flying in a game they have to have if they realistically hope to win this series.

"This is a special place to play and this team gets a lot of energy from their crowd despite what people are talking about, their home record," Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty said. "It always changes in the playoffs and they have great support from their crowd. Our job is to try to limit that as much as possible. We saw that in the first game here. It's our job to try to keep the crowd out of it because it can be a huge momentum swing, especially in the playoffs. We've seen it go the other way when we played them a couple years ago, so it's our job to try to limit that."

Video: Steve Ott on the NYR-MTL series shifting to MSG

 

4. Staying the course

The Canadiens played a near flawless road game Sunday, when they didn't allow the Rangers to establish a forecheck or use their tremendous speed to generate quality chances. They'll try to play a similar style in Game 4 with hopes of going back to Montreal with a 3-1 series lead.

"We know they're going to be a more desperate team than what we saw in Game 3," Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher said. "We're going to have to be ready to play. I think every playoff game, we've just got to prepare to be better. There's some areas we can improve on still. It's going to be our focus to just try to get better and better and make it difficult as we can on them in their home building."

 

5. Time for Pavel Buchnevich?

Buchnevich has been a healthy scratch for the first three games of this series, but that's expected to change for Game 4. The rookie forward has a terrific shot, something the Rangers desperately need with their inability thus far to get enough pucks to the net.

"Every [power play] unit has got a couple of guys with big shots, and just like our position, we're trying to take away those options as best we can at times," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "But certainly with Pavel, I think he can move it quick too. He's got that skill to see the ice really well. If he can't get a shot off quick, he's going to be able to get it in the hands of somebody who's got a lane. We're trying to move the puck real quick here and we need to get it down to the net and have guys going there."

Video: NYR@BOS: Buchnevich unloads rocket slapper into twine

 

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

Jimmy Vesey -- Derek Stepan -- Rick Nash

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

J.T. Miller -- Kevin Hayes -- Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner -- 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, Tanner Glass

Injured: None

 

Status report

All lines and pairings from Game 3 were the same for the Canadiens at their morning skate. … Buchnevich and Glass left the ice at the same time after the Rangers' morning skate and Vigneault wouldn't say anything regarding potential lineup changes.

 

Who's hot

Radulov has five points (two goals, three assists) in the series, and Plekanec has three points (one goal, two assists. Price has a .944 save percentage in the first three games.

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