Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pregame Preview: Canadiens vs Rangers (Game #82)

Match Up:

The Canadiens (45-28-8) play host to the Rangers (45-31-5) in their final regular season game of the 2013-2014 campaign. The game starts at 7:00 and airs on RDS and CBC.

This is the third and of course the final meeting between these two teams this season. So far, both games have ended in shutouts, Peter Budaj helped the Canadiens earn a 2-0 victory over the Blueshirts in late October, while Ranger back-up Cam Talbot picked up the shutout for New York in a 1-0 victory a couple of weeks later.

What to Watch:

Max Pacioretty is still looking for goal number 40 on the season, he's one goal away from being the first Canadien to reach the mark since Vincent Damphousse in 1994. The Canadiens are looking to get their power play back on track, the team hasn't scored with the man-advantage in 7 games, although Wednesday against the Blackhawks they didn't get a single power play opportunity.

With just 1 goal and 8 points in 19 games since joining the Rangers, Martin St. Louis hasn't made the smoothest transition, but the 38-year old does have 4 assists in his last 2 games. Despite leading the Rangers in goals, Rick Nash isn't haven't the best season of his career. Nash has 26 goals and 39 points in 64 games played, and could miss the 30 goal mark for the first time in a full season since 2006-07. Last year, Nash had 21 goals and 42 points in 44 games.

What's at Stake:

After a pair of defeats, the Canadiens have slipped back to third spot in the division, one point back on the Lightning. A win or an overtime loss against the Rangers will force the Lightning to earn points in their final game Sunday afternoon against the Capitals. Regardless of whether the Lightning win or lose on Sunday, a win will also give the Habs some positive momentum heading into the Playoffs and would give them just their second 100 point season since 1993.

Who's Out:

Lars Eller (illness) missed the last two games and is not expected to play on Saturday. Alex Galchenyuk (knee) won't be ready to play until at least the second round of the playoffs. Brandon Prust (upper body) and Travis Moen (concussion) are also out.

The Rangers are missing Chris Kreider (hand). Ryan McDonagh (shoulder) is day-to-day.

What Else:

The Canadiens announced the winners of their team awards on Friday and for a fourth straight season, Carey Price took home the Molson Cup honors as team MVP. Price has won the Canadiens Molson Cup 5 times in 7 seasons with the team. Brian Gionta was awarded the Jacques Beauchamps-Molson Trophy, awarded annually to the team's unsung hero. Brandon Prust won the award last year in his first season with the Canadiens. Brendan Gallagher finished just 2 points behind Gionta in this year's voting.

The Question Mark:

What was your favorite Habs moment or moments from this season?

Let us know what you think, leave us a comment or send us a tweet with the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.


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