Tonight the Rangers are in Montreal for a rematch with the Canadiens, but are doing so extremely shorthanded. The Blueshirts will be without Rick Nash (unknown), Darroll Powe (concussion), Arron Asham (back spasms), and may be without Michael Del Zotto (lower body) and Marc Staal (flu). Christian Thomas was called up and will play tonight in his NHL debut.
The Rangers struggle in Montreal, amassing a record of 64-198-40-2, which is just awful. The Rangers also haven’t won there since Markus Naslund was in blue. On the bright side, coach John Tortorella decided to start Marty Biron tonight, mostly because Hank is awful in Montreal for some reason.
Under Michel Therrien, the Canadiens have switched to a 1-2-2 forecheck, but do use a 2-1-2 style infrequently based on the score and puck location. The forechecking styles are similar to what we’ve seen with multiple Ranger opponents this year. In the defensive zone, the Canadiens differ a bit from the Rangers in that they overload the boards first, then collapse low based on puck location. It’s actually very interesting, as Therrien said they overload because of their team size (note: small), and they use their speed to their advantage to outnumber the opponent on the wall and force turnovers.
The Canadiens also work an umbrella powerplay, but do so with much more success than the Rangers, which doesn’t say much. Their penalty kill is on par with the Rangers, 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 (11-4-2), Rangers (8-6-1)
NYR Leading Scorer: Rick Nash (3-9-12)
MTL Leading Scorer: Tomas Plekanec (8-5-13), Max Pacioretty (4-9-13)
NYR Goaltender: Martin Biron (3 GP, 2.31 GAA, .928 SV%)
MTL Goaltender: Carey Price (13 GP, 2.12 GAA, .919 SV%)
Rangers Lines (unconfirmed):
Chris Kreider-Brad Richards-Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin-Derek Stepan-Marian Gaborik
JT Miller-Brian Boyle-Christian Thomas
Taylor Pyatt-Jeff Halpern-Brandon Mashinter
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto-Matt Gilroy
Scratches/Injuries: Mike Sauer (concussion), Darroll Powe (concussion), Rick Nash (unknown), Arron Asham (back spasms), Stu Bickel (healthy), Steve Eminger (healthy)
Opposition Blog: Hockey Inside/Out
Broadcast Info: 7pm, MSG
Torts Post Game Interview from Thursday: