Friday, April 14, 2017

{allcanada} 5 Keys: Rangers at Canadiens, Game 2


MONTREAL -- The New York Rangers play the Montreal Canadiens in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Bell Centre on Friday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, TVA Sports, USA, MSG). New York leads the best-of-7 series, 1-0.

Here are 5 keys for Game 2:


1. Road to success

The Rangers led the NHL with a 27-12-2 road record during the regular season, and they carried that success into Stanley Cup Playoff opener with a solid effort in shutting down the Canadiens offense in a 2-0 win in Game 1 on Wednesday.

"That would be nice if everything went exactly the same," Rangers forward Rick Nash said after practice at Bell Centre on Thursday. "You know, it's going to be momentum swings, you're going to face different adversity, but it is a good template to come off and play that defense-first mentality."

Grabner's empty-net tally

  • 00:50 • April 12th, 2017


2. Screening the King

Montreal came out on the short end of a battle between two of the League's elite goalies in Game 1 when Henrik Lundqvist got his 10th playoff shutout to break Mike Richter's Rangers record. The Canadiens will look to create more traffic in front of the net to block Lundqvist's vision.

"We all know that he's good on that first shot when he sees it and that's what we're trying to do, it's as simple as that," Montreal forward Alexander Radulov said after practice in Brossard, Quebec, on Thursday. "That's playoffs and that's how goals are going to get scored. You have to be in front of him and find that rebound."


3. Power adjustment

New York's power play was firing on all cylinders at the end of the regular season, going 13-for-38 (34.2 percent) during the final 15 games. The Rangers had their opportunities in Game 1, but went 0-for-4 on the power play, including a 5-on-3 advantage for 58 seconds in the second period.

"Our power play was a little bit off in its execution," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We will show our players a few examples [Friday] to try to improve that."


4. Stick to the plan

Canadiens coach Claude Julien believes puck luck plays a role in playoff success, and he felt that broke in the Rangers' favor in Game 1.

"What we can do right now is control what we can, and it's to continue to work and try and find more ways to score and try to bear down on those opportunities," Julien said, "but we're going to hope at the same time that some bounces go our way. But [Wednesday], if we score the first goal, it's a totally different game. So that's what happens in the playoffs."


5. Scoring at a premium

Goals figure to be a scarce commodity if the play of Lundqvist and Canadiens goaltender Carey Price in Game 1 proves to be the rule in the series. Rangers forward J.T. Miller is prepared for that and encouraged by their opening effort.

"Structurally, that was probably the best we've played in a while and [Lundqvist] brought his A-game for sure," Miller said. "And that one goal was enough, and we did a good job of not giving them a whole lot of good looks. I think the scoring chances were really even and I expect that's the way the series is going to go, is tight, low-scoring games."

Glass' pretty backhand tally

  • 00:39 • April 12th, 2017


Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey -- Mika Zibanejad -- Rick Nash

J.T. Miller -- Kevin Hayes -- Michael Grabner

Tanner Glass -- Oscar Lindberg -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Marc Staal -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Brendan Smith

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Adam Clendening, Kevin Klein, Steven Kampfer, Matt Puempel, Pavel Buchnevich

Injured: None


Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov

Paul Byron -- Tomas Plekanec -- Brendan Gallagher

Dwight King -- Andrew Shaw -- Artturi Lehkonen

Alex Galchenyuk -- Steve Ott -- Andreas Martinsen

Andrei Markov -- Shea Weber

Jordie Benn -- Jeff Petry

Nathan Beaulieu -- Nikita Nesterov

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Torrey Mitchell, Michael McCarron, Brian Flynn, Brandon Davidson

Injured: Alexei Emelin (lower body)


Status report

Vigneault used the same lines and pairs in practice Thursday as he did in Game 1. He was asked if any of his defensemen were on a short leash with Klein waiting for an opportunity to play. "I'm not sure I would want to call that a short leash," Vigneault said. "But I would say that because we have seven experienced defensemen, and I would say to you to some extent, Kampfer coming in and playing as strong as I felt that he did with his skating ability, it gives us options. And I think in playoffs, depth at all positions is really important and we are fortunate that we have some depth there." … Emelin has not skated and Julien was unable to say if he will be able to return during the series. "It's hard for me to say if he'll be available," Julien said. "He's still day to day. He's better [Thursday], very doubtful for [Friday], and then after that, we'll find out. He may even be on the trip with us so that's why right now I say day to day. He's getting better and to what stage he's at right now, certainly not at the stage to be with us in full practice yet." ... Kampfer and the Rangers agreed to terms on a new contract Thursday. Terms were not disclosed, but TVA Sports reported it was for two years and $1.3 million (average annual value $650,000).

Who's hot

Zuccarello has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in his past 13 games. … Zibanejad has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. … Pacioretty has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past eight games. … Lehkonen has six points (four goals, two assists) in his past five games. … Price is 12-5-0 with 28 goals allowed and one shutout in his past 17 starts.


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