After looking like the more dominant team through games two and three, hopes were high that the Montreal Canadiens could take a commanding series lead in New York on Tuesday night.
That, of course, would not be the case. Instead, the Rangers fought back with an impressive showing, knotting the series up at two games apiece, making for a best-of-three kicking off tonight at the Bell Centre.
With both teams looking to avoid being backed into a corner, tonight’s Game Five will undoubtedly be the most important to date.
How to watch
Puck drop: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CBC (English), TVAS (French)
In the United States: USA, MSG
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Gamecentre Live, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
|1.19||5v5 goal ratio||0.81|
Spirits could not have been much higher when it came to the Canadiens following both Game Two and Game Three - contests that saw the Habs put on a display en route to a 2-1 series lead. Game Four may have put a slight damper on things, but its worth noting just how close that game was to overtime despite a less-than-stellar performance.
Special teams continue to be a factor in the series, as the Habs’ penalty kill has continued to be perfect in shutting down the Rangers’ man-advantage. The Canadiens’ power play unit may have cost them a win on Tuesday night, however, after failing to convert on three opportunities.
Worth keeping an eye on in Game Five will be the usage of Alex Galchenyuk at centre. Claude Julien has slowly entrusted Galchenyuk with more responsibility as the series has gone on, moving Andrew Shaw off of his wing in favour of Alexander Radulov late in the game on Tuesday. Whether that change will stick remains to be seen, but Galchenyuk’s skill could certainly become a difference maker in what has become a very tight series.
Meanwhile, the Rangers have benefited from a different-looking Rick Nash from the one they’ve been accustomed to over the past season or more. Nash was a constant threat in Game Four - and throughout the series - and his second goal of the first-round would prove to be the game-winner on Tuesday night.
Ultimately, the Habs failed to put enough pressure on the Rangers in Game Four, and allowed them to control the flow of the game. While Henrik Lundqvist was tested on multiple occasions, the Canadiens struggled to generate much offence. Carey Price was once again on point, but without the run support needed, couldn’t pull out a victory on his own.
The series now comes down to who can win two-out-of-three, with the possibility of two games on home ice for the Habs. If they can get back to their performances from earlier in the series, there’s no reason to doubt their chances. A repeat of Game Four, however, could spell trouble.