Game 2, Eastern Conference Quarter Finals
Rangers lead series 1-0
Rangers at Canadiens -7:00 PM MSG, USA, 98.7 FM. Online streaming is available on nbcsportss.com or the NBC Sports app.
After leaving victorious on Wednesday night, the Rangers return to the Bell Centre for game 2 of the first round. The forwards will have to do a better job scoring on Carey Price or else we will have to rely on Big Game Glass to carry the offense. And we still need to see if Lundqvist is back or whether he just gave his final vintage performance.
Thank you to E3 for putting up a clean slate while I was at the children’s museum with the family. Clearly, this is a HAV.
Tonight’s probable lineup for the Rangers, via Steve Zipay (@stevezipay):
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey-Mika Zibanejad-Rick Nash
Michael Grabner-Kevin Hayes-JT Miller
Tanner Glass-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Nick Holden
Brady Skjei-Brendan Smith
The big news of course is that Kevin Klein and Pavel Buchnevich remain healthy scratches in favor of trade-deadline acquisition Brendan Smith and game 1 hero Tanner Glass, respectively. Smith started slowly but finished strongly. Glass, well, there isn’t much more that can be said about him from game 1. Let’s hope the rest of the team plays more like him. Did I really just say that? Henrik Lundqvist obviously gets the start. Here’s hoping he can maintain his vintage form.
No changes for the Canadiens. They will try again to be the first Canadian team to win a playoff game in nearly two years, as this year’s teams went 0-5 in game 1. One thing to pay attention to are the defensive matchups. Weber had almost a 75% 5 on 5 corsi, while the Beaulieu-Nesterov pairing had only a 35.1%.
The Rangers are something like 2-13 since 2012 when they have a chance to take a two game series lead, so I fully expect this to come back to MSG at 1-1, as would Carp, who would also expect 2-2 and probably 3-3.
I just hope tonight’s game is as entertaining as Wednesday night’s. The teams were credited with almost 100 combined hits, which is almost like Matt Martin being tracked by the Islanders. I saw somewhere that his hit total dropped by almost 100 this year. Color me unsurprised.
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