Rangers Vs. Canadiens: Lundqvist, Rangers Rebound With 2-0 Win Over Montreal
Just 24 short hours after losing a 8-5 shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers responded tonight with a 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Henrik Lundqvist, who was back in the crease tonight after being yanked during the first period last night, pitched a 34 save shutout to backstop the Rangers. There was a bit of outrage during the pregame warmups, when Brendan Smith was absent and Filip Chytil was listed as a scratch on the roster report.
Alain Vigneault threw a concerning curve ball by inserting Nick Holden and Steven Kampfer into the lineup, and rolling with seven defensemen for tonight’s contest. The Chytil part was a bit confusing since Alain Vigneault has heavily sheltered the 18-year-old since the season began. He has rarely played any meaningful time thus far, and one has to wonder if there’s a disconnect there between Vigneault and Jeff Gorton. The handling of Chytil just three games into the season has been extremely mind boggling.
Either way, despite dressing a questionable lineup the Rangers found a way to shutdown the Canadiens, due largely in part to Henrik Lundqvist. While he was peppered a bit in Toronto you could tell Lundqvist was having issues tracking pucks all throughout the previous game.
Thankfully tonight, it was a completely different story with Lundqvist playing aggressively in his crease and cutting down his angles perfectly. Even with the strong play of Lundqvist, there was a bit of concern early in this game after the Rangers lackluster play appeared to cost them a pair of goals. Luckily enough, the first one was called off due to Andrew Shaw kicking the puck into the net and the second came back on a successful challenge by Vigneault for goaltender interference.
The Rangers obviously used those two disallowed goals to motivate them the rest of the way, and they finally settled into their game midway through the period. Their luck did continue later on in the period when a centering pass by Brady Skjei ticked off of Shea Weber’s skate and flipped into the net. With the Rangers struggles early on in the season, that was the type of bounce they needed to build some confidence.
With both teams afraid to make the next mistake, this game tuned into a bit of a neutral zone battle throughout the remaining two periods. There wasn’t a whole lot of room to skate, which resulted into a lot of dump and chase hockey. Finally, with about 11 minutes remaining in regulation, the Rangers found the insurance goal they desperately needed.
Pavel Buchnevich created the entire sequence with a strong forecheck behind the net, and eventually dislodged the puck from the defenseman. While still being tied up, Buchnevich shoveled a puck out to Mika Zibanejad on the right side of the net and he banked the puck in off of Carey Price. Zibanejad has been lights out so far this season and already notched his third goal of the season in as many games.
The Canadiens turned up the pressure late in the game in a last ditch effort to climb back into the game, but Henrik Lundqvist was able to hold down the fort. Even though it wasn’t the prettiest of wins, the Rangers will take the two points as they look to gain some confidence moving through a tough schedule during the month of October.
Following tonight’s victory, the Rangers will be back in action this coming Tuesday when they welcome the St. Louis Blues into Madison Square Garden.