Game Twenty, the Montreal Canadiens at the New York Rangers
Tonight we have some original six hockey on our hands! The Rangers are playing host to the Montreal Canadiens, the team they bested in the Eastern Conference Final from last year's amazing playoff run. The Habs have a few new faces in the fold, they recently dealt Rene Bourque (who scored a hat trick against the Blueshirts in the playoffs last spring) to the Anaheim Ducks for Bryan Allen. The Habs also added veteran Russian blueliner Sergei Gonchar onto their back line (at the cost of Travis Moen).
Through 22 games, the Habs are the best team in the NHL thanks to an impressive record of 16-5-1. They are bringing a two game winning streak into the Garden tonight despite not being a high scoring team. What they lack in offense they make up for in their staunch defense and excellent goaltending. They should prove to be a handful for the Rangers tonight and the Rangers are going to have to do everything they can to challenge the Habs' goalkeeper and keep tabs on Max Pacioretty, who is fast becoming one of the league's best goal scorers. Last night the Habs shutout the Bruins.
The New York Rangers' November Schedule
Jets at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/1(SO loss.) Blues at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/3(SO loss.) Red Wings at Rangers, 8:00 PM 11/5(Win.) Rangers at Maple Leafs, 7:00 PM 11/8(loss.) Oilers at Rangers, 6:00 PM 11/9(loss... dear god, how?) Penguins at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/11(Win!!!) Avalanche at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/13(SO loss.) Rangers at Penguins, 7:00 PM 11/15(SO loss.) Lightning at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/17(loss.) Flyers at Rangers, 8:00 PM 11/19(Win.) Rangers at Sabres, 7:00 PM 11/21(rescheduled.)Canadiens at Rangers, 7:00 PM 11/23
Rangers at Lightning, 7:30 PM 11/26
Rangers at Flyers, 1:00 PM 11/28
Flyers at Rangers, 1:00 PM 11/29
Mike's Player to Watch: Marc Staal
There are a lot of opinions about what the Rangers should do with Marc Staal right now but the fact remains that he is absolutely crucial to this hockey team while Ryan McDonagh is recovering from his shoulder injury. Staal and Girardi have had to turn back the clock and go back to being the Rangers' two best blueliners and tonight, against the Habs, they are up against some stiff competition. Each game that Staal plays this year is an audition for his next contract. Whether the team signing that next contract is the Rangers or another team sometime in the offseason remains to be seen, but for the time being Marc Staal is a Ranger and on nights like these they need the very best out of him.
Let's go Rangers! Enjoy the game and the thread.
How was your weekend?