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Rangers go for win No. 50 against Canadiens

by Dave Lozo
CANADIENS (29-34-14) at RANGERS (49-21-7)


Last 10:
Montreal 4-2-4; New York 7-3-0
Season Series:
This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. Despite the large points discrepancy between them, the Canadiens have taken two of three during the season series.

Big Story:
The East-leading Rangers enter Friday having won five of six to build a cushion on the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 15th-place Canadiens have long since checked out of the playoff race and will be playing their first game since Pierre Gauthier was relieved of his duties as general manager Thursday.

Team Scope:

Canadiens: Except for a five-goal outburst against the Ottawa Senators last Friday, the Canadiens have been struggling to score goals during this six-game slump. In the five losses, Montreal has scored a total of six goals.

Goaltender Carey Price has been stellar in March, racking up a .927 save percentage in nine starts.

Rangers: They completed a perfect three-game road trip Wednesday by rallying from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-2.

Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves in his season-high seventh straight start, while Ryan Callahan and Michael Del Zotto each had a goal and an assist.

"This week has been great for us," Lundqvist said of his team's road trip. "We're playing really well and doing a lot of good things."

Who's Hot: Erik Cole has put the puck in the net on a consistent basis all season for the Canadiens, and has 4 goals in his past three games. … Marian Gaborik has 3 goals and 2 assists during a three-game points streak for the Rangers. Brian Boyle has 3 goals in his last four games.

Injury Report:
Montreal captain Brian Gionta (biceps surgery), Travis Moen (upper body), Mathieu Darche (illness/upper body), Raphael Diaz (lower body) and Scott Gomez (concussion) are all on injured reserve. Yannick Weber (lower body) hasn't played since the Ottawa game last Friday. Tomas Kaberle (upper body) has missed the last seven games and has yet to be cleared for contact.  … The Rangers have no new injuries. Defenseman Steve Eminger (ankle) and Michael Sauer (concussion) won't be back any time soon.

Stat Pack: The Canadiens have never finished in last place in the Eastern Conference. The only time they've finished last in the standings of any kind was in 1939-40 when they came in seventh in the seven-team NHL.

Puck Drop:
"It's the best that we've played (over) the last 30, 35 minutes of (a) game in a while. Both away from the puck, our stinginess, blocking shots, just doing the things we need to do." -- Rangers coach John Tortorella, following his team's win in Winnipeg

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