New York Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens, 7:30 PM at Madison Square Garden
Where To Watch: MSG Plus
Where To Listen: 1130-AM, Bloomberg Radio, and newyorkrangers.com
Live In-Game Chat: 7:15 PM on BlueshirtsUnited,com
Friday night at The Garden it's a clash of Original Six teams when the Rangers (49-21-7, 105 pts) host the visiting Montreal Canadiens (29-34-14, 72 pts). The Rangers will be seeking their fourth consecutive win, as well as their 50th victory of the season. Only twice in 85 years have the Rangers amassed as many as 50 wins in a single season---winning 52 in the Stanley Cup championship season of 1993-94, and winning 50 en-route to the President's Trophy in 1991-92. The Rangers, who have won five of their last six games and just swept a three-game road trip to Toronto, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, continue to own a five-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have five games remaining to play after the Pens were defeated by the Islanders once again Thursday night; and both clubs are in action this evening. Henrik Lundqvist has started a season-high seven consecutive games in goal for the Rangers, though it is not yet known if he or Martin Biron will get the call against Montreal. One player who will not be in the Rangers lineup is rookie defenseman Tim Erixon who was assigned to the Connecticut Whale on Thursday. The struggling Canadiens---sitting dead last in the East with 72 points---fired their general manager Pierre Gauthier on Thursday, several months after head coach Jacques Martin was dismissed. Montreal is 1-2-3 in its last six games.
This is the fourth and final meeting this season between the Rangers and Canadiens. The Blueshirts will be trying to hold serve and earn a split of the season series with a win on Friday. The home team has won each of the first three games this season, with the Rangers skating to a 5-3 win at The Garden on November 5th---a game that saw the Rangers race out to a 3-0 first period lead before needing a Ryan Callahan empty-net goal late in the third period to seal the victory.
"It's very important to us to just focus on improving our collective game. We can't control what the Penguins do, but we can control what it is that we do. We need to stay on top of what we do, in all areas of our game, so that we have a strong finish."-Anton Stralman
By The Numbers
Though held without a point during Wednesday's 4-2 win over Winnipeg, Brad Richards ranks second in the NHL in the month of March with 19 points (6-13-19). Teammate Marian Gaborik is tied for third in the league during March with 9 goals and is third with 18 points this month.
Martin Biron remains just one game shy of appearing in his 500th career NHL contest. Michael Del Zotto is one game away from playing in his 200th NHL contest.
Is Friday night the night the Rangers reach the 50-win plateau? Share your predictions below.
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