Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Montreal Canadiens.
The Montreal Canadiens enjoyed a deep playoff run after a solid regular season in 2013-14, even if they ended up facing a few “What if?” questions considering Carey Price’s injury during an entertaining Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Rangers.
To get there, the Canadiens swept division mates the Tampa Bay Lightning and managed to beat hated rivals the Boston Bruins in a seven-game series.
P.K. Subban was especially brilliant against the Bruins, collecting seven of his team playoff scoring-leading 14 points in that series alone. Price’s injury punctuated a season that was brilliant even if it was marred by ailments, including the issues he dealt with while helping Canada win gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The Canadiens got a little younger in the offseason as Brian Gionta left town while Daniel Briere was traded for P.A. Parenteau. Adding Tom Gilbert and Manny Malhotra could pay off as subtle tweaks for a team that showed some promise last season, particularly when Michel Therrien really let the team loose.
While the Habs entered last season as a team with tempered expectations, hockey-mad Montreal will probably expect quite a bit in 2014-15, especially from Subban on the heels of his massive raise. There are plenty of reasons to believe the player and team can deliver amid those high hopes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy.
Will the Rangers win “the most important hockey game in New York in 20 years” or will the Canadiens send this series back to Montreal for a decisive Game 7?
We’ll find out on Thursday night as Game 6 takes place at Madison Square Garden. You can watch the game on NBCSN and/or by streaming it via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The Canadiens won a wild Game 5 in Montreal on Tuesday and carry momentum from one of their best performances of this series. While Dustin Tokarski hopes to have a better night, there are plenty of Habs players who want to repeat their performances, especially Rene Bourque after his impressive hat trick.
The Rangers are one loss away from remarkably finding themselves in three seven-game series in these playoffs. The question is: will Henrik Lundqvist continue to come up short in elimination games where only the other team’s season is on the line? It’s an odd distinction yet the numbers are pretty stark.
This has been a fantastic and odd series, with plenty of heat and hot air coming from both sides. We’ll see if this series ends tonight or if we’ll get the treat (and tension) of a Game 7 soon enough.
The Montreal Canadiens face the New York Rangers with their season on the line on Tuesday as they attempt to extend this conference final series beyond Game 5.
Both teams probably see significant room for improvement, especially when it comes to special teams (Montreal wants to be more efficient on the power play while the Rangers want to avoid giving the Habs so many chances). Game 5 airs on NBCSN and can also be streamed via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The Rangers have been strong in elimination games, although it seems like they’ve been better when their own season has been on the line. They failed to knock off the Philadelphia Flyers in a Game 6, but won that Game 7 plus three straight against the Pittsburgh Penguins. There’s plenty of motivation to avoid a long series after a lengthy run in the postseason so far.
The Canadiens might not be at their peak of confidence, yet Dustin Tokarski has been brilliant at times and they could be a tough out at home. It all shapes up for an intriguing matchup, even if the yapping died down a bit between the two sides.