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Preview: Rangers at Canadiens

New York hoping Mats Zuccarello can find the back of the net; Montreal to get Alex Galchenyuk, Andrew Shaw back in lineup

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

RANGERS (28-14-1) at CANADIENS (26-11-6)

7 p.m. ET; MSG, SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV

 

Rangers team scope

The New York Rangers did not have a morning skate Saturday after their 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday. Despite the loss the Rangers are 5-2-0 in their past seven games. They are a League-best 15-6-0 on the road and have 57 points, tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Forwards, Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello are tied for the Rangers lead with 31 points. Zuccarello has gone 11 games without a goal but has 11 assists in that span. "I'd like [Zuccarello] to finish more but he's playing well," coach Alain Vigneault said Friday. "If you look at his overall game, the plays that he's making, the compete level that he has, obviously he's here to score some goals also but he's working extremely hard. And the ones right now that aren't going in, I'm confident that they will."

 

Canadiens team scope

Montreal Canadiens forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Andrew Shaw will return to the lineup Saturday. Galchenyuk has been out since Dec. 4 because of a right knee injury. "I wanted to make sure I'll come back when I feel absolutely 100-percent confident and ready to go out there and play my game," Galchenyuk said Saturday. The Canadiens return from a two-game road trip that ended with a 7-1 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. That followed a 7-4 win at the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday. The Canadiens have lost two of three (1-2-0), but were 9-5-4 in 18 games without Galchenyuk. "You can tell they were tired, I mean, a lot of games in a short period of time and a lot of new faces in the room as well, and they did amazing work," said Shaw, who missed 14 games because of a concussion. "They competed for one another, they worked hard and I think it might be a relief to have a guy like [Galchenyuk] back as well. He's going to help out offensively, on the power play as well, and we're starting to get out team back together."

 

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

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

Jimmy Vesey -- Oscar Lindberg -- Rick Nash

Pavel Buchnevich -- Brandon Pirri -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Brady Skjei

Nick Holden -- Dan Girardi

Adam Clendening -- Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Marek Hrivik

Injured: Mika Zibanejad (broken fibula), Matt Puempel (concussion), Marc Staal (upper body)

 

Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Alexander Radulov

Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Sven Andrighetto

Paul Byron -- Phillip Danault -- Andrew Shaw

Brian Flynn -- Torrey Mitchell -- Michael McCarron

Alexei Emelin -- Shea Weber

Nathan Beaulieu -- Jeff Petry

Mark Barberio -- Zach Redmond

Scratched: Daniel Carr, Chris Terry, Ryan Johnston

Injured: Brendan Gallagher (hand), Andrei Markov (groin), David Desharnais (knee), Greg Pateryn (ankle)

 

Status report

Markov did not skate Saturday. He had practiced prior to the trip, though he did not travel with the team. "There hasn't been any setback," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "Not everyone reacts the same way to a groin injury. We thought he was progressing but it was stable so the medical staff decided to hold him back and wait a little longer before he continues to practice with us." ... Gallagher said his left hand is broken at a different part of the same knuckle that he broke last season. "I think it took me 40 days to get back last time and I'm trying to go for 39 this time," he said. "None of the initial screws or plates that I had put in were damaged. They just put another plate a little higher up in the hand. That side of the hand has been through quite a bit, it's going to have some scars."

 

Who's hot

Grabner has five goals and seven points in his past three games. Miller has four goals and five assists during a six-game point streak. ... Plekanec a three-game goal streak and a four-game point streak. Weber has one goal and seven assists in his past seven games. Beaulieu has one goal and six assists in his past six games.

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