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NHL-leading Canadiens face Rangers in back-to-back

by Corey Masisak

CANADIENS (16-5-1) AT RANGERS (8-7-4)


NEW YORK -- The Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers opted not to have full-team morning skates Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Montreal played Saturday against the Boston Bruins, defeating its rival 2-0 at TD Garden. New York has not played since Wednesday because a game Friday at First Niagara Center against the Buffalo Sabres was postponed by the severe snowstorm in western New York.

Defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who has not played for the Rangers since Nov. 1 because of a shoulder injury, skated Sunday at the Garden. He has yet to practice with the Rangers and a timetable for his return remains uncertain.

The Canadiens lead the NHL with 33 points and have won eight of their past nine games. They've defeated the Zdeno Chara and David Krejci-less Bruins twice and logged impressive victories against the St. Louis Blues and at the Detroit Red Wings in that span. This is the first time Montreal has played at the Garden since New York defeated Montreal in the 2014 Eastern Conference Final.

Montreal dressed seven defensemen Saturday against the Bruins.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Lee Stempniak could play against Montreal, but because it is a lower-back injury he decided to hold him out another game. The forward lines should look the same as they did Wednesday against the Flyers.

Here are the projected lineups:


Max PaciorettyDavid DesharnaisPA Parenteau

Alex GalchenyukTomas PlekanecBrendan Gallagher

Brandon PrustLars EllerJiri Sekac

Manny MalhotraDale Weise

Andrei MarkovP.K. Subban

Alexei EmelinSergei Gonchar

Bryan AllenMike Weaver

Tom Gilbert

Dustin Tokarski

Carey Price

Scratched: Drayson Bowman, Nathan Beaulieu

Injured: Michael Bournival (shoulder)


Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Martin St. Louis

Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Carl Hagelin - Kevin Hayes - Anthony Duclair

Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - Jesper Fast

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

John Moore - Dan Girardi

Matt Hunwick - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: None

Injured: Ryan McDonagh (shoulder), Lee Stempniak (back)

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