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.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
A woman in a wedding dress was caught eating a burger during Saturday’s game between the Stars and Wild. (Above)
Team Europe has a number of quality goaltending options to chose from ahead of next fall’s World Cup of Hockey. (NHL.com)
Watch as some players on Nashville’s roster try to guess the lyrics to different country songs:
Former goaltender Eddie Johnston sits down for a Q & A with ESPN.com’s Shelly Anderson. (ESPN)
Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher got into a “Twitter war” with former NHLer Jim Kyte. (Puck Daddy)
Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference made a generous donation to a Syrian refugee fund. (Huffington Post)
We’re now over two days removed from last Friday’s tilt between the Bruins and the Rangers, but the coaches from both teams seem unwilling to move on.
Moments after that game, Claude Julien claimed that Henrik Lundqvist did some “acting” on the ice to sell a goalie interference call on Brad Marchand.
On Saturday, Alain Vigneault fired back by saying that Julien needed to get his eyesight checked. Vigneault also compared Aaron Rome’s hit on Nathan Horton in the 2011 Stanley Cup final to Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan in Friday’s game.
Now it was Julien’s turn to address the “issue” at hand.
Julien clarified his original comment about Lundqvist and he also tackled some of Vigneault’s comments.
“I think it’s pretty obvious what I said . . . I thought Lundqvist sold it,” said Julien. “Not for a second did I ever question Henrik Lundqvist as a person, or a goaltender or any of that. We all know how good he is as a goaltender, and I know he’s a good person. I’ve met him at the All-Star games and all that stuff.
Julien on his eyesight: “As far as my eyes, I’m not the one that compared Beleskey’s hit to Aaron Rome’s [hit]. We’ll just leave it at that.”
It’s time for both sides to move on.
It was a scary sight.
Carlo Colaiacovo fell to his hands and knees after taking a cross-check to the throat from Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson (above).
Arvidsson received a five-minute major and a game misconduct, while Colaiacovo suffered a dented trachea on the play.
After the game, both Dan Bylsma and Peter Laviolette agreed that there was no malicious intent on Arvidsson’s part.
“I don’t think there was intent there to maliciously cross-check,” Bylsma said. “They kind of lose the puck, turn and his stick is right at that level and delivers a blow. When you look at it, it’s a pretty stiff cross-check to Carlo’s neck.”
“It was tough for Arvidsson,” said Laviolette. “I don’t think he had any bad intentions. He just ran into somebody and the stick got caught a little bit high, but just a tough turn of events.”
The Sabres defenseman left the game and was treated at a nearby hospital, but there is some good news to report.
According to the Buffalo News, Colaiacovo was released from hospital and he was able to travel to Detroit with his teammates.
It’s unclear how long he’ll be out.
There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.
This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.
Carr has no prior NHL experience.
The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.
In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.
This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.
Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.