Tonight, the Montreal Canadiens come to town, and it’s the return of old friend Brandon Prust. Prust is expected to get a warm welcome from the fan base, but once the puck drops, all that goes away.
The Canadiens have given the Rangers trouble in the past, but this is a different Ranger team that is built on speed and forechecking. The Canadiens play a 2-1-2 forecheck, similar to the Rangers, which is different from the 1-2-2 that caused so much havoc in the past. The Rangers have seen the 2-1-2 many times before and know how to break it.
In the defensive zone, the Canadiens differ a bit from the Rangers in that they pressure the point while also collapsing to protect the slot. This is a bit of a hybrid of the man-to-man coverage and low zone collapse that Suit spoke about this morning. In doing so, the Habs ensure that they are protecting the high-priced real estate, while not giving the point men too much leeway.
The Canadiens also work an umbrella powerplay, but do so with much more success than the Rangers, converting at an 18.2% clip. Their penalty kill is on par with the Rangers at 83.3%, although they are a little bit more passive than the Rangers, who play a 1-1-2 PK forecheck in the neutral zone, then sit back into a standard box in the defensive zone. The Canadiens do not pressure the puck on the PK in the neutral zone the way the Rangers do, but do pressure the point a bit more with a diamond PK.
2012-2013 Records: Canadiens (10-4-1), Rangers (8-5-1)
NYR Leading Scorer: Rick Nash (3-9-12)
MTL Leading Scorer: Tomas Plekanec (8-5-13)
NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (12 GP, 2.35 GAA, .917 SV%)
MTL Goaltender: Carey Price (11 GP, 2.06 GAA, .922 SV%)
Rangers Lines (unconfirmed):
Chris Kreider-Brad Richards-Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin-Derek Stepan-Marian Gaborik
JT Miller-Brian Boyle-Taylor Pyatt
Arron Asham-Jeff Halpern-Brandon Mashinter
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto-Matt Gilroy
Scratches/Injuries: Mike Sauer (concussion), Darroll Powe (unknown, likely concussion), Rick Nash (sick), Stu Bickel (healthy)
Opposition Blog: Hockey Inside/Out
Broadcast Info: 7pm, MSG
Torts Post Practice Interview from Monday: