The NHL's two most valuable franchises face off tonight for their second contest of the year. Not only are these teams the most valuable in terms of dollar-value, but have proven to be the Eastern Conference's best teams to this point of the season, multiple wins up on the next closest teams chasing them in the standings.
Both teams have 34 points, although the Rangers have one less game played than the Canadiens. The Rangers have been on a dominant run for over a month, falling only once in regulation to an opponent over their last 16 games played (13-1-2) since their previous regulation loss at the hands of the Canadiens.
During the same period, the Canadiens have been on a run of 13-3-2, and despite the prime NHL coverage indicating that the Rangers are far and above a better team than the Canadiens, both the Rangers and Habs have similarities in their makeup as well as their results that demonstrate just how closely competitive these teams are.
Brendan Gallagher's absence from the top line is a cause for concern, but also an opportunity for the Canadiens' depth to come to the table and show its worth. As well as being down Gallagher, Torrey Mitchell is still sidelined with a lower body injury. We will likely see a number of combinations being used tonight in Gallagher's absence, with Devante Smith-Pelly returning from injury and being slotted in the official spot on the Canadiens' lineup alongside Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty.
The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST.
How To Watch:
In Canada (French): RDS
In Canada (English): Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario
In the Rangers' region: MSG
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice
|Max Pacioretty||Tomas Plekanec||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Lars Eller||Alex Galchenyuk||Sven Andrighetto|
|Tomas Fleischmann||David Desharnais||Dale Weise|
|Paul Byron||Brian Flynn||Alexander Semin|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Nathan Beaulieu||Jeff Petry|
|Tom Gilbert||Alexei Emelin|
Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi, Bud Holloway
Injuries: Brendan Gallagher (broken fingers), Torrey Mitchell (lower body), Michael Bournival (post-concussion syndrome)
|Rick Nash||Derick Brassard||Mats Zuccarello|
|Chris Kreider||Derek Stepan||Kevin Hayes|
|J.T. Miller||Oscar Lindberg||Jesper Fast|
|Dominc Moore||Jarret Stoll||Viktor Stalberg|
|Ryan McDonagh||Dan Girardi|
|Marc Staal||Kevin Klein|
|Keith Yandle||Dan Boyle|
Scratched: Emerson Etem, Dylan McIlrath
Check out the enemy over at Blueshirt Banter.