At the beginning of last week, Habs fans were not too pleased with the Montreal Canadiens. A 3 game losing streak capped off by a 6-0 blowout loss to the Leafs had soured a lot of people on the team that had been so much fun up to that point.
Since then, Montreal has rebounded to rattle off 4 straight wins, the second longest streak in the NHL right now after Saku Koivu's Anaheim Ducks.
The Canadiens have another streak at risk tonight, as they're the only team in the Eastern Conference who are undefeated against teams not in their own division. The Canadiens have rattled off 8 straight wins against Southeast and Atlantic Division teams.
The Rangers, for their part, are 3-1-0 against Northeast Division teams. They're also tied with the Bruins for the second best record in the east over the last 10 games at 7-2-1. The Rangers have also been one of the strongest possession teams in the East at home, so the Habs have their work cut out for them.
The Canadiens have managed a 3-1-1 road record in spite of having some weak looking possession numbers on the road, and they'll be in for a boost tomorrow as Carey Price should be okay to return to the lineup. Not that Peter Budaj has been a hinderance, but I'm guessing that the Rangers will put up more than 19 shots in their own barn. Price is historically Halakian against the Blueshirts, that is to say, he's either unbeatable or terrible. His overall stats are way below his career average with a 4-4-1 record in 10 starts, a .904 save percentage and 3.03 GAA, but he also has two shutouts. Price's last game before falling ill was a 26 save shutout over the Panthers.
The Canadiens and Rangers split the season series last year, each team winning both of their home games. The two teams face each other again on Saturday for Hockey Night in Canada at the Bell Centre, so whoever's losing by the third period will probably do some dumb message sending.
This game marks the return of UFA acquisition Brandon Prust to New York, where he was a fan favourite. When asked about Prust, Rangers coach John Tortorella remarked that all he saw was "a guy in a Habs sweater". Kinda bitter sounding there, Torts.
For coverage from the opposing side, check out Blueshirt Banter.