Rangers set to try and solve Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens' Tom Pyatt right, collides with New Montreal Canadiens' Tom Pyatt right, collides with New York Rangers' Mats Zuccarello, of Norway, during second period NHL hockey action in Montreal. (Feb. 5, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Rangers have come up empty in three games against Montreal this season. They have just three goals against the Canadiens, who visit Madison Square Garden Friday night, and are 0-for-10 on the power play.

Can the Rangers reverse their fortunes?

Four key players on the revived power play (7-for-25, 28 percent) weren't on hand for many of the previous meetings: Vinny Prospal, Ryan Callahan and Erik Christensen were injured for two of the three games, and point man Bryan McCabe was a Florida Panther.

In the past seven games on the power play, Callahan has three goals and an assist, Christensen has two goals, McCabe has a goal and two assists and Prospal has four assists. And Marian Gaborik, pointless in the three games against the Canadiens, has two power-play goals in the last three games.

"It hasn't been totally dominant," coach John Tortorella said Thursday. "I think we're more and more comfortable in what we're doing, we have the puck more in the end zone . . . hopefully, it continues. It's an important time of the year, they're going to be close games, and if you can kill some penalties and score a power-play goal, it'll certainly helps you."

It won't be easy: Montreal is ranked seventh on the penalty-kill.

With Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta, the Canadiens aren't a big team, but a quick one. "They move the puck well," said Henrik Lundqvist, who will start his 16th straight game and is 4-1-0 with a 2.17 GAA in his last five. "They have some great skaters and [goalie Carey] Price is playing well."

Price shut out the Rangers in Montreal, 2-0, in their last matchup on Feb. 5, and Alex Auld was in the net for a 2-1 win on Jan. 11. Leading scorer Tomas Plekanec is day-to-day and the Canadiens have called up former Ranger Nigel Dawes.

The Canadiens, in sixth place in the East, hosted Tampa Bay Thursday night and are 6-8 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

"We're trying to look ahead, but we don't get too focused on who we're trying to catch or who's behind us," Tortorella said. "We know we're in the middle of it . . . this is our playoffs."

Notes & quotes: It's unclear who will be the healthy scratches Friday night. Wojtek Wolski and Matt Gilroy sat against the Islanders. Wolski and Sean Avery rotated on left wing during line drills.

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