Following a hard fought victory over the New York Islanders two nights ago, the Rangers have crossed the border into Canada to take part in an Original Six matchup. The Montreal Canadiens will host Chris Kreider, Marc Staal, and the rest of the Blueshirts in the rubber match of the season series at the Bell Centre tonight. Both teams have earned a road win against each other during the 2019-20 campaign. David Quinn’s squad turned a 4-0 deficit into a 6-5 victory in the team’s most iconic win of the season back on November 23rd, while Claude Julien’s Canadiens grinded out a 2-1 victory at Madison Square Garden on December 6th.
While both teams were “sellers” at the trade deadline, the Habs and Blueshirts’ seasons are headed in opposite directions. Having won eight of their last nine to pull within four points of a playoff spot with three games in hand, the Rangers are still interested in playing deep into the spring. Meanwhile, the Canadiens find themselves seven points out with one more game played than their closest competition, so Les Habitants are set to miss out on postseason hockey for the third consecutive season.
Player to Watch: Brendan Lemieux
If there’s one player on the Blueshirts that can be described as a spark plug, Lemieux would be the one. His antics both before and after the whistle speak for themselves, but New York’s agitator had a multi-goal performance during the team’s monstrous comeback the last time these two squads met in Montreal. Look for Lemieux to be on his toes with his father Claude likely in attendance tonight.
Enjoy the game!