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.