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 tonight, and are 0-for-10 on the power play.
Can fortunes be reversed tonight?
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 yesterday. “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 help you.”
It won’t be easy: Montreal, in sixth place, seven points up on the Rangers, is ranked 7th in the NHL 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 consecutive 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 Blueshirts 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, who scored in last night's shootout.
The Canadiens 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.”
It’s unclear who will be the healthy scratches tonight.Wojtek Wolski and D Matt Gilroy sat against the Islanders. Wolski and Sean Avery rotated on left wing during line drills. We'll have an answer---or at least an eduacted guess---after the 10:30 AM optional.
Hang in there.
How's dem brackets, huh? First year I didn't submit one. I feel kinda....light....free....