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New York Rangers Game Thread: 1/29, Habs at Rangers

The Rangers begin a four game home stand with a game against the team they overcame in the 2014 Eastern Conference Final.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Game Forty-Five, the Montreal Canadiens at the New York Rangers
Record: 27-14-4

Canadiens vs Rangers coverage | NYR roster | Eyes On The Prize

The Rangers come into tonight's game with a bad taste in their mouth after being dominated yet again by the New York Islanders. The next four games for the Blueshirts will be played on Garden ice, so it is crucial for the Rangers to pick up some points here at the end of January and in early February to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot in the East. The last time the Rangers fell to the Islanders, a little over a week ago, they were beat in their very next game by the Bruins. How will they bounce back this time around? Although Saturday's game shouldn't be too challenging, the Rangers are going to have to go up against some quality teams at the Garden on this home stand and it would be a big deal to start things off on the right foot by taking down the Habs tonight.

Montreal comes into tonight's game riding a three game winning streak and with an impressive 7-3-0 record in their last ten games. Much like the Rangers, the Canadiens are an elite team regarding the amount of goals they surrender per game, but unlike the Rangers, they have some serious trouble scoring goals. It's safe to say that tonight's game will come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes and which goaltender steals a few a goals, and with the two keepers we get to see tonight I imagine we'll be seeing some of that. The Rangers are going to have to play a great home game and make sure to play to their strengths against the Canadiens. A win tonight would be huge for the Blueshirts not only in the standings but in regards to their confidence after once again being beat up by Capuano's Islanders. I have a gut feeling that special teams will be a big factor in tonight's game. Other than Carl Hagelin's last second dignity-preserving power play goal against Halak on Tuesday night, the Rangers power play has been stale lately. We'll have to see if it wakes up tonight against P.K. Subban and the Habs.

The New York Rangers' January Schedule

1/3 Sabres at Rangers, 7:00 (win.)
1/7 Rangers at Ducks, 10:30 (win.)
1/8 Rangers at Kings, 10:30 (win.)
1/10 Rangers at Sharks, 10:00 (win.)
1/13 Islanders at Rangers, 7:00 (loss.)
1/15 Rangers at Bruins, 7:00 (loss.)
1/16 Rangers at Blue Jackets, 7:00 (win.)
1/18 Rangers at Penguins, 12:30 (win.)
1/20 Senators at Rangers, 7:00
(win.)
1/27 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00 (loss.)
1/29 Canadiens at Rangers, 7:00
1/31 Hurricanes at Rangers, 7:00

Mike's Player to Watch: Henrik Lundqvist

The big storyline coming into tonight's game is the showdown between two of the East's elite goaltenders; Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price. There are plenty of Canadiens fans (and some Rangers fans) who feel that the Habs would have beat the Rangers in the playoffs last year if not for Price being injured after Chris Kreider collided with him thanks to a trip from Emelin. There is something special brewing between these two teams of late. Something nasty and mean and intense. The Rangers are going to need Hank to be big tonight against Max Pacioretty and the Habs and the Rangers are going to have to try and find a way to beat Carey Price, who is just about as good as it gets at his position. What we got tonight, my friends, is a good ole' fashioned goalie duel.

Let's go Rangers! Time for some Original Six hockey. Drop the puck.