New York Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens, 7:00 PM at Bell Centre
Where to Watch: NBC Sports Network
Where to Listen: 1050 ESPN Radio
Live In-Game Chat: 6:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
Fresh off a 3-0 shutout victory in Toronto Saturday night, the NHL-best Rangers (28-10-4, 60 pts) are right back at it this evening with another Original Six clash, this time against the Montreal Canadiens (16-20-8, 40 pts) at the Bell Centre. With the Rangers not arriving at the team hotel until nearly 1:30 in the morning on Sunday after travelling from Toronto, head coach John Tortorella cancelled the morning skate at the Bell Centre and instead called for a late morning team meeting at the hotel to let his players rest properly following their impressive victory over the Maple Leafs. With Martin Biron stopping all 20 shots he faced, the Rangers bounced back from Thursday's 3-0 home-ice loss to Ottawa with an extremely thorough shutout win of their own Saturday night. The Blueshirts have now won six of their last seven games, and 11 of 13, and have a one-point edge over Vancouver for the top spot in the entire National Hockey League. Montreal is in the midst of a surprisingly disappointing season so far, as their sub .500 record and 12th place standing in teh Eastern Conference can attest. The Canadiens are winless in their last three games, following Saturday's 3-2 shootout defeat to the Senators on home ice. They are just 3-9-1 in their last 13 games, have already fired their head coach during the season---replacing Jacques Martin with Randy Cunneyworth, and on Thursday traded veteran Mike Cammalleri to Calgary for winger Rene Bourque.
This is the third of four meetings between these two historic franchises this season, and the second one at the Bell Centre. The Rangers and Canadiens have each won once so far, with the Blueshirts prevailing 5-3 at The Garden on November 5th and falling to Carey Price and the Habs 4-0 on November 19th in Montreal. In the Garden win Brad Richards scored an important goal late in the second period to quell a Canadiens rally and put the Rangers up 4-2 en-route to the victory. The Rangers own an all-time record of 190-319-95-3 record against the Canadiens.
"We are happy with the win (in Toronto) and happy to stop the bleeding, but Montreal is always a tough building to play in. They beat us up pretty good last time we were in there, so we just have to refocus (Sunday), forget about (the win Saturday), and move on. It's going to be a really good challenge for us."--Brian Boyle
By The Numbers
Tonight's game pits one of the league's best road teams against one of the lower-rung home teams. The Rangers own the third-best road record in the NHL at 15-6-2, while the Canadiens are third-worst at home, 28th overall, at 7-8-7. The Rangers have won four straight on the road after last night's victory in Toronto, and six of their last seven.
Brian Boyle snapped a 22-game drought without a goal last night. A year ago he tallied two of his career-high 21 goals against the Canadiens.
Share your prediction below on tonight game between the Rangers and Canadiens.