Rangers Vs. Canadiens: Keys To The Game

The New York Rangers are looking for their third straight win tonight when they host the struggling Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers are currently 2-1-1 on their home stand, and have two games remaining at Madison Square Garden before the team travels to Ottawa Wednesday.

New York has played better in its past two victories, and would love to finish this home swing 4-1-1, which would require a win tonight. Here's how the Rangers will get that win.

Don't Underestimate Montreal: The Canadiens might be struggling (4-5-2) and have already gone through some interesting coaching changes this season, but they are still a very dangerous team. If anything, the slow start probably has Montreal geared up and ready to play tonight, so the Rangers need to be ready for a war. Part of this will be staying out of the penalty box, and making sure New York wins the special teams battle.

Join me after the jump for more.

Hank Being Hank: The Rangers' goaltender needed a big win when he took on the Anaheim Ducks, and he got it. Not only was it a confidence boost, but it helped grab the Rangers an extra point from the shootout. But just because Lundqvist should be back to his normal mental focus level tonight doesn't mean the team can pump the breaks on their defensive coverage. The Rangers need to continue to be disciplined in the defensive zone, and need to avoid penalties to keep the Canadiens away from Lundqvist as much as possible.

Hold Onto The Puck: One of the biggest things the Rangers did right in their 5-2 trouncing over the San Jose Sharks was possessing the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches. That needs to happen again tonight for a couple of reasons. The most obvious is keeping the team in the Canadiens' defensive zone for continuous pressure. The second reason is to keep the Canadiens away from the Rangers' defensive zone for as much of the game as possible. The Rangers did well in this category against the Ducks too, now they just need to do it again.

The Sean Avery Effect: The Garden is going to be cranked up to a 10 with Avery back in the lineup. The team need to feed off that energy, not get overwhelmed by it. New York has to ignore the atmosphere and play their game for 60 minutes. Avery will take care of what he has to, so the team needs to do their thing as well.

Official New York Rangers' Pre-Game Release below.

Saturday, Nov. 5, 7:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden - New York, New York

Rangers: 5-3-3 (13 pts)
Canadiens: 4-5-2 (10 pts)

* All information through NHL games on Nov. 3

The Rangers will begin a back-to-back home set when they face-off against the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in an Original Six match-up. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 5-3-3 (13 pts). The Rangers enter tomorrow's contest having defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 2-1, in the shootout on Thursday at Madison Square Garden to improve to 5-2-1 in their last eight games, including wins in their last two contests. The Canadiens currently own a 4-5-2 (10 pts) record to rank 13th in the Eastern Conference, and have won their last three games entering their contest tonight at Ottawa. Following tomorrow's contest, the Rangers will close out their six-game homestand when they face-off against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, Nov. 6, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in their third game in four days.

Tomorrow's game will allow fans to experience the first phase of the three year, top-to-bottom historic Madison Square Garden Transformation.

Prior to tomorrow's contest, the Rangers' morning skate is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the MSG Training Center. Head Coach John Tortorella will be available to the media at 4:50 p.m. in the Press Conference Room, located on the fifth floor of Madison Square Garden.
* Schedule and availability subject to change


· TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show with Al Trautwig
7:00 p.m. - Rangers vs. Canadiens
Broadcasters: John Giannone (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), Al Trautwig (In-Game Reporter)

· Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio and newyorkrangers.com
6:30 p.m. - Rangers Pre-Game Show
7:00 p.m. - Rangers vs. Canadiens
Broadcasters: Don LaGreca (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)


· All-Time: 189-318-94-3 overall (125-122-54-1 at home; 64-196-40-2 on the road)

· 2011-12: Tonight is the first of four meetings this season, and the first of two at Madison Square Garden.

· Last Season: New York was 1-3-0 overall, with a 1-1-0 mark at home. Dan Girardi led the team in scoring with four points, including a team-high three assists, and Brian Boyle notched a team-leading two goals in four games. The Rangers out-scored the Canadiens, 7-4, in first periods during the season series.

· The Rangers have posted a record of 7-3-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Canadiens at Madison Square Garden.

· New York ranks 22nd with a 2-1-1 (5 pts) record at home; Montreal is tied for 23rd with a 2-2-0 (4 pts) mark on the road

· The Rangers have posted a 0-1-1 record vs. Northeast Division opponents; the Canadiens are 1-1-0 vs. the Atlantic Division

· Henrik Lundqvist has posted a 11-8-2 record with a 2.94 GAA and one shutout in 22 career regular season contests vs. Montreal; Martin Biron is 14-11-0-1 with a 2.36 GAA and two shutouts in 28 career regular season games vs. the Canadiens

· Brad Richards leads the Rangers with seven goals, 11 assists and 18 points in 30 career regular season contests vs. Montreal; Brandon Dubinsky has tallied 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 16 games vs. the Canadiens

· New York lists no former Canadiens on their roster

· Montreal lists one former Ranger on their roster: Scott Gomez (2007-08 - 2008-09)


· Power Play: The Rangers did not tally a goal in four power play opportunities (7:40) on Thursday vs. Anaheim, and are 6-28 (21.4%) with the man advantage in the last seven games. New York ranks 23rd overall (6-44, 13.6%) and 13th at home (3-16, 18.8%). The Rangers are 0-2 (1:05) in five-on-three situations (last - 10/22 at EDM), and 0-4 (3:46) when four-on-three (last - 11/3 vs. ANA). Shorthanded goals allowed (0).

· Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Ducks scoreless in two shorthanded situations (3:40) on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, and are 28-31 (90.3%) in the last eight games. New York ranks seventh overall (44-50, 88.0%) and sixth at home (12-13, 92.3%). The Rangers are 2-2 (0:44) in three-on-five situations (last - 10/15 at NYI), and 0-1 (1:17) when three-on-four (last - 10/7 at LAK). Shorthanded goals for (1): 10/20 at CGY (Prust).

· Four-on-Four: New York did not tally/yield a goal in three four-on-four situations (5:38) on Thursday vs. Anaheim. The Rangers are plus-three in 22 four-on-four situations (38:34), and even in one three-on-three situation (0:01). Four-on-four goals for (3): 10/18 at VAN (Gaborik); 10/20 at CGY (McDonagh); 10/27 vs. TOR (Girardi). Four-on-four goals allowed (0).

The Rangers will begin their second of 14 back-to-back sets this season when they face-off against the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow at Madison Square Garden. New York has posted a record of 0-0-1 (0-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) in the first game of the set, and are 0-0-1 (0-0-0 at home, 0-0-1 on the road) in the second game. Since 2009-10, New York is 21-8-3 in the back-end of back-to-back sets, including a 9-3-1 mark at MSG and 12-5-2 on the road over the span. The Rangers will close out their back-to-back set on Sunday, Nov. 6 vs. the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.).

New York has posted a record of 46-26-12 (104 pts) against Original Six opponents since the 2005-06 season, including a 11-10-3 mark vs. Montreal over the span. The Rangers' .619 winning percentage ranks third, trailing Detroit (.698%, 41-16-6) and Montreal (.623%, 70-40-12), and ahead of Toronto (.516%, 54-50-18), Boston (.496%, 53-54-18) and Chicago (.477%, 27-30-9).

New York has posted a record of 4-1-2 against Western Conference opponents this season, and lead all Eastern Conference teams with four wins and 10 points vs. the West. Seven of the Rangers 11 games to begin the season have been against Western Conference opponents. The last time New York played more games vs. Western Conference opponents than vs. Eastern Conference opponents this late into the season was in 2003-03 (six of the first 11 games through November 4).

New York defensemen have accounted for 23.1% of the team's scoring, which ranks fourth in the league. Ranger blueliners have tallied six goals combined through 11 games to begin the season. Ryan McDonagh leads all Blueshirt defensemen and is tied for second among NHL blueliners with three goals.


· Ryan Callahan ranks third in shots on goal (47), is tied for fifth in game-winning goals (two), ranks second among forwards in blocked shots (19) and 10th among forwards in average ice time (21:22)

· Henrik Lundqvist is tied for eighth in save percentage (.932), fourth in shutouts (one) and fifth in saves (274)

· Dan Girardi ranks second in average ice time (27:49)

· Ryan McDonagh is tied for 17th in average ice time (24:55) and second among defensemen in goals (three)

· Michael Del Zotto is tied for eighth in plus/minus rating (plus-seven)

· Marian Gaborik is tied for fourth in shots on goal (46)

· Brad Richards ranks sixth among forwards in average ice time (21:48)

· Brandon Prust is tied for second in fighting majors (four)

New York has seen six new faces in their lineup during the 2011-12 season. The Rangers had three players make their Rangers debut in the team's season opener on Oct. 7 against the Kings - Tim Erixon (NHL debut), Brad Richards (one assist) and Mike Rupp. In addition, defenseman Jeff Woywitka made his Rangers debut on Oct. 15 at Long Island, while defenseman Brendan Bell made his Blueshirts debut on Oct. 22 at Edmonton. Forward Andre Deveaux made his Rangers debut on Monday vs. San Jose, following his recall on Sunday.

The Rangers are currently 11 wins shy of 2,500 wins, having won 2,489 games all-time in franchise history.


· The Rangers are 6-28 (21.4%) with the man advantage in the last seven games

· New York is 28-31 (90.3%) on the penalty kill in the last eight games, and has only surrendered one goal in 13 shorthanded situations (92.3%) through four games on the current homestand

· Marian Gaborik has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) in the last four games

· Ryan Callahan has tallied five points (four goals, one assist) in the last five games

· Dan Girardi has recorded five points (one goal, four assists) in the last five games

· Brad Richards has tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in the last three games

· Jeff Woywitka has recorded a point in each of the last two games (one goal, one assist)

· Derek Stepan has registered two points (one goal, one assist) in the last three games

· Michael Del Zotto has posted a plus or even rating in each of the team's 11 games this season


· Ryan Callahan: 5 games from 300th NHL career

· Erik Christensen: 8 assists form 100th NHL career

· Steve Eminger: 9 points from 100th NHL career

· Marian Gaborik: 8 assists form 300th NHL career

· Dan Girardi: 8 assists from 100th NHL career

· Derek Stepan: 7 games for 100th NHL career

· Wojtek Wolski: 1 game from 400th NHL career; 9 goals from 100th NHL career

· John Tortorella: 1 win from 100th win as Rangers Head Coach


· Brian Boyle: 200th career NHL game (11/3 vs. ANA)


  • Marc Staal (concussion, IR on 10/5) - 11
  • Mike Rupp (knee, 10/24) - 4
  • Wojtek Wolski (groin, 11/3)

Total Man-Games Lost: 24


  • Oct. 29 - Assigned forward Kris Newbury to Connecticut (AHL)
  • Oct. 29 - Assigned defenseman Tim Erixon to Connecticut (AHL)
  • Oct. 30 - Recalled forward Andre Deveaux from Connecticut (AHL)
  • Nov. 1 - Recalled forward Sean Avery from Connecticut (AHL)