NHL

2
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Montreal 1 0 1 2
NY Rangers 0 1 0 1
1
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET22:00 BRT, December 6, 2019
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York  Attendance: 17,354

Rangers hope to maintain surge vs. wilting Habs

Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers

  1. The Rangers rallied from a 4-0 second-period deficit for a stunning 6-5 victory at Montreal on November 23. It was just the third win in the last 10 meetings for New York, which is 2-4-1 in the last seven matchups at Madison Square Garden.
  2. Montreal fell for the ninth time in 10 games with Thursday's 3-2 defeat to Colorado. During their 1-6-3 stretch, the Canadiens have surrendered 43 goals for their most in any 10-game span since the 2010-11 season.
  3. The Rangers improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games as Artemi Panarin scores the decisive goal in a 3-2 victory at Columbus on Thursday. Since a five-game losing streak in October, New York has gone 11-5-2 in its last 18 games.
  4. With rookie Cayden Primeau making his NHL debut Thursday, Carey Price will be back in net for this game. Price ended a personal six-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Islanders on Tuesday. His 3.13 goals-against average after 23 games is the worst of his career.
  5. Tony DeAngelo and Kevin Shattenkirk (2017-18) are the only Rangers defensemen with 20 points in the first 27 player games of a season since 2003-04. DeAngelo ranks third in the league among defensemen this season with 15 points at home (John Carlson, Dougie Hamilton, 16).
  6. Shea Weber leads all defensemen with five goals against the Rangers since 2016-17. He is tied for the league lead among defensemen with seven goals since November 7 (Cale Makar) and ranks fifth with 13 points.

The New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens are separated by a single point in the standings.

Heading into their meeting Friday night in New York, the Rangers sit three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference chase, with a game in hand. The Canadians are right behind them.

However, the Rangers and Canadiens currently tell a tale of two teams going in opposite directions.

The Rangers, who are coming off a 3-2 road win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night, are on a 5-1-1 run over their last seven games that has helped them rebound from a difficult opening month.

On the other side of the equation, the Canadiens are in an absolute nosedive. The Habs, who dropped a 3-2 home game to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, have just one win in their last 10 games (1-6-3), a slump that has sent them plummeting down the standings.

Rangers coach David Quinn wasn't singing the praises of his team after beating Columbus, save for goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, who made 45 saves while his club was outplayed by a wide margin.

"We didn't play with any pace or any physicality. I was really surprised how slow we were," Quinn said. "Give them credit, they played with an edge, and they played with pace. I didn't think we had that one in us the way things are going. Thank god for Georgie.

"Our D-zone coverage was a major, major problem. We were not committed to playing defense or committed to supporting each other coming out of our end. That hasn't happened in a while. If we're going to have any success, we've got to be committed to playing defense."

The Canadiens didn't help their cause with their defensive play to start against the Avalanche. With 20-year-old goaltender Cayden Primeau -- a seventh-round draft pick in 2017 -- making his NHL debut, Montreal trailed 3-0 before the midway point.

The damage was done, even if the Canadiens pushed hard enough to make it a close game.

"We should have started it like that," said Nick Cousins, who scored early in the third to cut the deficit to one. "In the third period, we had the ice tilted. We started to turn it on and got two goals."

"As the game went on, we got better and better," Cousins added. "There are some positives we can take into (New York)."

Montreal will need to make one roster change, after young forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi -- the second-year NHLer who was the third pick in the 2018 draft -- was knocked from Thursday's game after a hit from Nikita Zadorov. Kotkaniemi landed on his head.

"To me, that's a dirty hit," coach Claude Julien said. "I don't know how the league's going to see it, that's up to them to look at it, but when I talked to our upper management, they seemed to think it's definitely a suspendible move on his part."

The Canadiens do have one more bit of extra motivation as they arrive in the Big Apple. The Rangers won the last meeting, 6-5 at Montreal on Nov. 23 after the Canadiens held a 4-0 lead.

--Field Level Media

Updated December 6, 2019