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Canadiens @ Rangers: Game thread, rosters, lines, and how to watch

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After seeing some of the defensive issues return last night after a decent run, which team will take the ice at MSG?

Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens @ New York Rangers

How to watch

Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2, TSN Direct (English), RDS, RDS Direct (French)
In the Rangers region: MSG
Streaming: NHL.tv/NHL Live

The Montreal Canadiens did a good job on defence on Saturday versus the Philadelphia Flyers. There were a few turnovers and it wasn’t a textbook performance by any means, but it was an encouraging display for a team desperate to get out of a slump.

Sunday versus the Boston Bruins they tightened their game up to hold the Bruins off the scoreboard for over two periods. They surrendered a few in the third as Boston proved they were the better team, but overall it was a strong performance versus a great team, and another step in the right direction.

On Tuesday they went up against a team known for its defensive skills and hard style, and registered 40 shots on target as their 200-foot game came together and finally netted a victory.

Last night against the Colorado Avalanche, all that progress went out the window in the first period. With a rookie netminder who could have used a bit of help, it was the veterans Jeff Petry and Shea Weber who were burned for high-danger chances, the former allowing a shot that beat Cayden Primeau, the later allowing a rush right to the net and seeing a coasting Nate Thompson fail to tie up the man who potted the rebound.

Such sloppy defensive performance are hurting a short-handed Habs team that is trying to get by without some offensive players. Putting yourself down two goals in the first period forces that team to net three for the win, and that’s something Montreal couldn’t do despite a better showing in the second half of last night’s game.

The lesson is that the Habs need to hold together for the entire 60 minutes if they want a chance to win. They can’t just play the final half and earn two points. And as they saw the last time they faced tonight’s opponent, the New York Rangers, they can’t just play the first half, either.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Avalanche
Canadiens Statistic Avalanche
12-10-6 Record 17-8-2
1-1-0 H2H Record (18-19) 1-1-0
54.3% (2nd) Corsi-for pct. 49.2% (19th)
3.25 (8th) Goals per game 3.70 (1st)
3.46 (28th) Goals against per game 2.81 (10th)
18.8% (17th) PP% 19.8% (12th)
74.1% (30th) PK% 78.6% (20th)
L-L-OT-L-W Form L-W-W-W-W

One of the eight losses Montreal saw on their recent slide was a game they were leading 4-0. After averaging two goals in the previous three games, it seemed the team relaxed too much after scoring four times in the opening 23 minutes. Even after allowing three consecutive goals, it seemed that the Habs would be able to survive when Artturi Lehkonen netted a fifth, but three more against sealed a 6-5 defeat for the Habs’ fourth loss in a row.

Claude Julien’s decision to start his rookie netminder in last night’s game versus the most prolific offence in the league was made with a game versus a potential wild-card competitor in mind, so he’s banking on the team consisting of the most experienced players he has to work with on the ice responding in a proper fashion.

Carey Price was in the net for all six goals on November 23, and can’t allow anywhere near that many if his team is going to get back in the win column. Now having three top-nine forwards out of the lineup with Jesperi Kotkaniemi undergoing a rigorous concussion protocol after his quick exit last night, the Habs will be hard-pressed to find five goals in the second instalment of the season series, so it’s up to the defence to play a stable game, and Price to be there to stop whatever gets through.

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Tomas Tatar Phillip Danault Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen Max Domi Joel Armia
Nick Cousins Nick Suzuki Jordan Weal
Charles Hudon Nate Thompson Matthew Peca

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Ben Chiarot Shea Weber
Brett Kulak Jeff Petry
Otto Leskinen Cale Fleury

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Carey Price
Cayden Primeau

Injured: Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Victor Mete
Scratched: Mikey Reilly

New York Rangers projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Brendan Lemieux Mika Zibanejad Kaapo Kakko
Artemiy Panarin Ryan Strome Chris Kreider
Jesper Fast Filip Chytil Pavel Buchnevich
Boo Nieves Brett Howden Brendan Smith

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Brady Skjei Jacob Trouba
Ryan Lindgren Adam Fox
Libor Hajek Tony DeAngelo

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Alexandar Georgiev
Henrik Lundqvist