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5 Keys: Canadiens at Rangers, Game 6

Canadiens missing forward Andrew Shaw; New York trying to clinch at home

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

CANADIENS at RANGERS

8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports

New York leads best-of-7 series 3-2

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers look to advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Here are 5 keys for Game 6:

 

1. Canadiens without Andrew Shaw

It was for this time of year that the Canadiens decided to acquire forward Andrew Shaw from the Chicago Blackhawks last summer. But with their season on the line, they'll be without Shaw, who sustained an upper-body injury during the 3-2 overtime loss in Game 5 on Thursday.

Shaw will be replaced by center Brian Flynn, who had six goals and four assists in 51 regular-season games. Flynn, 28, had a goal and two assists in six playoff games for the Canadiens in 2015.

"It happens in playoffs; you have some injuries," coach Claude Julien said. "There's things like that that happen, and that's why you go and get some depth, that's why you have extra players. You insert players in that sometimes are fresh and to maybe give you what you need in order to get the results that you want.

"In [Flynn's] case, I know that he had an injury there at the end of the [regular season] and he hasn't played much, but he's a skilled player that is capable of making good plays. We need him tonight do to the job. He's excited about it, and we're excited to have him in our lineup."

Video: NYR@MTL: Flynn pokes loose puck past Lundqvist

 

2. Chris Kreider is back

Inconsistency plagued Rangers forward Chris Kreider during the regular season, and it carried over into the playoffs when he went the first four games of the series without a point.

But Kreider was a factor in the latter stages of Game 5 and set up Mika Zibanejad for his overtime goal. The Rangers are hoping Kreider's play carries over into Game 6.

"I would say in the last 15 minutes of the third [period] and the overtime, Chris Kreider was back," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "He skated well, he got a real good chance on the rush, and that line [with Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich] had some real good zone time. He stayed with it. Sometimes, you fight through certain situations. He stayed with it, he got bounce on the goal because he worked real hard."

Video: NYR@MTL, Gm5: Zibanejad buries shot for OT win

 

3. Finish the job at home

The Rangers ended a six-game losing streak at MSG in the playoffs in their 2-1 win in Game 4 on Tuesday. By winning again in Game 5, they have a chance to wrap up this series on home ice. They know they have to seize this opportunity.

"It'd be huge," captain Ryan McDonagh said. "It gives us confidence going into this game. If we're playing well, the crowd's going to be behind us and we have momentum. It's about playing well here and playing to the right level of intensity and execution to give ourselves a chance in this rink."

 

4. Michael McCarron makes playoff debut

Rather than go with experience, the Canadiens are opting to play right wing Michael McCarron, a first-round pick (No. 25) in the 2013 draft. McCarron will play his first NHL playoff game after splitting the regular season between Montreal and St. John's of the American Hockey League.

McCarron will replace right wing Torrey Mitchell, who played in his 75th career NHL playoff game Thursday.

"This is up there for an American kid [to play at Madison Square Garden]," said McCarron, a native of Grosse Point, Michigan. "I'm excited, a little jittery, [but] I'm ready to go. It's not about me tonight, it's about the 20 guys in this room, and we're all going to be at the top of our game."

Video: MTL@TOR: McCarron scores from below goal line

 

5. Wake-up call for New York power play

The Rangers know they are fortunate to have a 3-2 series lead without any help from their power play, which is 0-for-14 through five games. It's a trend they know they need to reverse if they hope to keep pushing forward in these playoffs.

"You need your special teams to produce and get it done," center Derek Stepan said. "Our power play hasn't been able to score a goal, but I look at it as a great opportunity for it to wake [up] tonight."

 

Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov

Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Brendan Gallagher

Alex Galchenyuk -- Brian Flynn -- Paul Byron

Dwight King -- Steve Ott -- Michael McCarron

Andrei Markov -- Shea Weber

Alexei Emelin -- Jeff Petry

Jordie Benn -- Brandon Davidson

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Andreas Martinsen, Torrey Mitchell, Nikita Nesterov, Nathan Beaulieu

Injured: Andrew Shaw (upper 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

Davidson will play instead of Beaulieu, who started the season on the Canadiens' top defense pair with Weber. … Vigneault wouldn't reveal any potential lineup changes, though the Rangers are expected to use the same group that won Game 5.

 

Who's hot

Radulov has two goals and four assists in the series. … Nash and Fast each have three points (two goals, one assist). … Lundqvist and Price have each allowed 10 goals through five games.

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