The Canadiens are seeking redemption in Monday night when they host the Rangers at the Bell Centre for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Game 1 of the series was disastrous in more ways than one for the Habs. They were beaten 7-2 and Carey Price did not play in the third period after allowing 4 goals on 20 and potentially suffering a leg injury when Chris Kreider went sliding into the Canadiens' netminder late in the second period.
Monday's game starts at 8:00 and airs on CBC and RDS.
What to Watch:
Lars Eller continued to shine in the playoffs with a goal and an assist in Saturday's contest, bringing him up to 11 points in 12 games in these playoffs. The Canadiens as a team had their weakest start of the playoffs on Saturday, going down 2-0 by the end of the first period after being out-shot 12-6. Up to Saturday's game the Habs had allowed just 3 goals in the first period in 11 playoff games combined.
The Rangers looked a lot different in Game 1 of the third round than they had leading up to it. They scored 34 goals in the previous 14 games but put up a converted touchdown on Saturday. The Rangers got goals from 7 different players on Saturday, including Rick Nash who scored his first of this year's playoffs. On top of that, the New York power play converted 3 times in the third period, going 3-for-7 on the afternoon after going 6-for-55 in the first two rounds.
What's at Stake:
The Canadiens didn't simply lose Game 1, they were humiliated. Aside from a brief glimmer of hope in the second period when Rene Bourque cut the Rangers lead to 2-1, the Habs never looked competitive on Saturday. With Price's status uncertain for Game 2 the Canadiens may need to rally around Peter Budaj in order to draw the series even. Another poor showing by the Habs and this series could be over before it started.
The big question mark heading into Game 2 is whether or not Carey Price will play, not just Monday night, but whether he'll play again this series. Alex Galchenyuk (knee) could be ready for action Monday night for the first time since April 9.
Derrick Brassard suffered either an undisclosed injury in the first period in Game 1 and is uncertain for Monday.
This isn't Chris Kreider's first run-in with a goalie, it's not even his first run-in with a goalie in these playoffs. In February 2013, Craig Anderson was in Vezina Trophy form until Kreider was sent sprawling into him by Senators defenseman Marc Methot. Anderson's left ankle was pinned against his goalpost and the resulting injury kept him out of action for 6 weeks. Just over a week ago, in Game 6 against the Penguins, Kreider went barreling into Marc-Andre Fleury after Kris Letang bumped him en route to the Pens net.
Brandon Prust had this to say on Kreider's contact with Price, "He went skates-first right into [Price's] leg. We know how to slide, we know how to fall. We're in the NHL. We're taught how to fall when you're 5 years old...I don't think [Kreider] is a dirty player but he did nothing to slow-up or avoid him."
The Question Mark:
What type of response are you expecting from the Habs in Game 2 with or without Price?
Let us know what you think, leave a comment or send us a tweet using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.
The Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show starts an hour before puck drop, join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter. And don’t miss the Post Game Show starting 5 minutes after the final siren.
Monday, May 19, 2014
8:35 AM Rob Elbaz 10 comments