Canadiens vs Rangers - Game Preview

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Canadiens face off against a team based in New York for the 3rd straight time, looking to sweep the season series against the Rangers.

The Montreal Canadiens will receive a nice boost to their lineup as rookie sensation Brendan Gallagher returns to the lineup after missing a the last two games with a minor concussion sustained on a dirty hit by Luke Schenn. Gallagher has 5 goals and 3 assists in 13 games played this year, about a 47 point pace for an 82 game season.

Conversely, the Rangers won't be welcoming Rick Nash back into the lineup tonight, and they may be losing another player as Michael Del Zotto is questionable for the game.

The previous game ended in a 3-1 victory for the Habs, and with the Rangers calling the Canadiens a bad and boring team. Some of the Habs players were a little fired up about being trash talked while sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference.

However Erik Cole saw it a bit differently when asked about it:

"I think they saw us on the second night of a back to back with travel and terrible ice conditions," forward Erik Cole said. "I think we played a smart road game. So you can call it boring or call it whatever - I call it two points."

That game was boring though, and it was likely by design as the Canadiens were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights, 5th game in 7 (of which they won all 5). Now that the Habs have had a bit of rest, and the game is on Bell Centre ice, expect a much more high tempo game.

The best line on the ice against the Rangers on Tuesday was the trio of Alex Galchenyuk - Lars Eller - Brandon Prust, who combined for the game winning goal at the beginning of the third period, Galchenyuk's second goal of his rookie season.

It looks like Prust will not be on that line tonight though, as Brendan Gallagher's return allows Michel Therrien to spread more offense throughout the lineup, putting Erik Cole down with Eller and Galchenyuk.

Carey Price stopped 24/25 shots against the Rangers at MSG and will get the start tonight. He will be staring down Martin Biron, who makes his third start of the season and brings a .928 save percentage into the Bell Centre. The Rangers must be hoping for the old curse of the Quebec goaltender in Montreal, but Biron didn't play too well against the Canadiens last season.

I previewed the game yesterday with Neil Keefe of WFAN.com and CBSNewYork.com here.

Check out the opposing side at Blueshirt Banter.

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