Josh Gorges, Brad Richards

Tonight on NBCSN: Rangers look to roll on against slumping Canadiens

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You can’t find two teams in more different places in life than the two you’ll see on the ice in Montreal tonight. When the Rangers and Canadiens square off (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) it’ll be a battle between two teams that each came into the season with high hopes and only one major media team living up to potential.

The Rangers come into tonight’s game with the league’s best record and winner of six of their last seven games after disposing of Toronto last night and are 11-2-0 in their last 13. Whether they’ve got a fully healthy lineup or not, the Rangers keep winning games. Tonight they may have to go without both Brandon Dubinsky and Ruslan Fedotenko. Dubinsky has been out of action of late with a shoulder issue while Fedotenko has back spasms bothering him.

On the upside for New York, Henrik Lundqvist will get the start in goal as Martin Biron earned the shutout victory last night. Life’s a bit easier when you’ve got one of the top five goalies in the league starting for you and that’s something the Canadiens are bummed out about hearing.

Montreal comes into tonight’s game losers of 10 of their last 13 games after losing in a shootout to Ottawa last night. While that’s depressing for Montreal fans to see, Carey Price felt better about the team’s play after last night’s loss. They tied Ottawa in the final minute to send the game to overtime and the shootout before losing. You have to find a bright spot someplace. Peter Budaj gets the nod in goal tonight to try and slow down New York.

On the upside, Rene Bourque will make his debut with the Habs tonight after finishing his five-game suspension for elbowing Nicklas Backstrom. Bourque will provide a physical scoring presence for Montreal, something they haven’t really had since they went to the small, speedy lineup.

Tonight’s awkward moment: Seeing Montreal’s Scott Gomez on the ice against New York’s Ryan McDonagh. The Habs dealt McDonagh to New York to acquire Gomez, a deal that will likely go down in infamy in Montreal as McDonagh has become a top six defenseman and Gomez a pariah in Quebec.

Video: Mika Zibanejad’s check to Tyler Bozak’s head

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Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).

The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.

You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.

It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.

Malcolm Subban hospitalized after taking puck to throat

Malcolm Subban
AP
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Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.

There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.

The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.

Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.

 

Senators get Kyle Turris back on Saturday

Ottawa Senators' Kyle Turris celebrates his game-winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens during overtime of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.

After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.

Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.

Habs’ win was a showcase for P.K. Subban, Connor McDavid

Montreal Canadiens defensemen  P.K. Subban (76) holds off Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.

Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.

Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.

Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:

From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.

Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?

The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.

That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.

If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.