New York Hockey: Montreal Canadiens

W2W4: Rangers vs. Canadiens

October, 28, 2013
10/28/13
12:34
PM ET
At a glance: After a nine-game road trip that left them reeling with a 3-6-0 record to start the 2013-14 season, the Rangers finally return home to a revamped Madison Square Garden in Monday's Original Six matchup against the Montreal Canadiens at 7:30 p.m. This marks the start of a critical stretch in which the Rangers play five of the next six at home, with the only road game being Tuesday's divisional clash against the Islanders. With the Blueshirts five points back from a playoff spot, they have some ground to make up in the Eastern Conference standings.

Return of the King: Bigger than the boost they will receive from their familiar digs is the lift the Rangers will get from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's return. Though backup Cam Talbot served as a capable fill-in while Lundqvist was out with an unspecified injury the past two games, the Rangers want their former Vezina Trophy winner in the net. The 31-year-old Lundqvist, who battled the injury while playing for a stretch of the road trip, is off to a rocky start with a 3.45 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage. Now that he has put the injury behind him, the Rangers hope he can return to form.

Still depleted: Though Lundqvist is making his return Monday night, the Ranger are still without half of their top six forwards. Carl Hagelin (shoulder) is the closest to coming back; the speedy winger is eligible to come off the long-term injured list Tuesday. Ryan Callahan and Rick Nash aren't expected back any time soon, however. Callahan is not slated to return for approximately three weeks, while Nash's status is even more nebulous. The star winger, who suffered a concussion earlier this month, has not appeared to make any progress toward a comeback. According to the team, there is "nothing new" with Nash's situation.

Bad Hab-it: The Rangers were swept in last season's series against the Canadiens, but Montreal seems to be amid a bit of a skid, with losses in three of its last four games.

W2W4: Rangers at Canadiens

March, 29, 2013
3/29/13
7:14
PM ET
At a glance: The Rangers, who have dropped three of their last four, will look to bounce back from Thursday's 3-0 loss to Ottawa when they visit Montreal on Saturday.

Playoff update: The Rangers (35 points) are tied with the Islanders for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders, however, have played one more game than the Rangers.

Montreal blues: The Rangers are 0-2 this year against the Canadiens, losing 3-1 at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 19 and getting blanked 3-0 in Montreal on Feb. 23.

If the Rangers make the playoffs, and can somehow work their way into the No. 7 seed, they could see Montreal in the quarterfinals. It'd be a boost to their confidence if they could find a way to beat them in the regular season.

Replacing Prust: In the offseason, former Rangers forward Brandon Prust signed a four-year, $10 million deal with Montreal. While Prust isn't a top scorer, he brought a toughness and style of play that meshed perfectly with the identity the Rangers have created under head coach John Tortorella. As the season nears its end, it's obvious the Rangers have missed Prust and all the little things he's willing to do that might not appear in the box score.

Return of the Mats: The Rangers officially signed Mats Zuccarello on Thursday, bringing him back into the fold so he can help down the stretch. He didn't play Thursday, but he could potentially make his season debut Saturday against Montreal. Zuccarello had 11 goals and 17 assists in 44 games with the KHL this year, and has eight goals and 18 assists in his NHL career.

No PK: The Rangers have allowed a power-play goal in the past five games and find themselves in the middle of the pack in the league with an 80.7 percent kill rate. With the offense struggling, the Rangers can't afford to give up goals with a man down. Not having defenseman Marc Staal doesn't help, but the Rangers have to find a way to be better after getting penalized.

Does March have to end? One player who doesn't want to see the calendar change to April is Derek Stepan. The forward has six goals and nine assists in March, which is 60 percent of his total points on the year. The 22-year-old had struggled through January and February in terms of scoring, but has figured out how to put it all together. the Rangers need him to keep this up in April.

W2W4: Rangers vs. Flyers

March, 26, 2013
3/26/13
11:58
AM ET
PHILADELPHIA -– At a glance: Winless in the past two games, the Rangers set out on a three-game road trip that starts Tuesday with a match against the Philadelphia Flyers.

While the Rangers are currently in eighth place in the East with 33 points, the Flyers are still trying to claw their way back into playoff contention after a disappointing start to the season. The Rangers have won 10 of the past 11 games against their division rivals, which includes a series sweep last season. New York's Henrik Lundqvist will face Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov in goal.

Tough test: With only three points in their last seven games, the Rangers' upcoming three-game swing is crucial if they are to remain in the playoff race. Following Tuesday's game in Philly, the Rangers play two tough opponents: the stubborn Senators in Ottawa on Thursday and the Canadiens in Montreal on Saturday night.

Struggling to score: The Rangers' lack of goal-scoring has been glaring, as the team ranks dead-last in the Eastern Conference and 29th in the league with an average of 2.26 goals per game. Only Columbus has fewer, although not by much. The Blue Jackets have managed only 2.22 goals per game.

New arrivals: The Rangers are in the process of finalizing plans to bring in forwards Mats Zuccarello and Jesper Fast from overseas. Both players are expected to travel to North America on Wednesday, barring any unforeseen changes. Zuccarello, who played for the Rangers from 2010 to 2012, has agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $700,000 (pro-rated), although he is waiting for his official release from the Kontinental Hockey League.

Game-time decision: Rookie forward J.T. Miller, who sat out Sunday's game with an injured wrist, is a game-time decision, coach John Tortorella told reporters at the Rangers morning skate Tuesday.

No Briere: The Flyers will be without Danny Briere. The veteran center is out indefinitely with a concussion sustained in practice on Saturday. The Flyers recalled Tye McGinn, who is expected to play on the team's top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (lower-body) has also been ruled out for the game.

Morning jam: Devils keep beating the Flyers

March, 14, 2013
3/14/13
10:21
AM ET
Devils 5, Flyers 2
* Devils: 3-0-0 vs Flyers this season (all 3 games at home)
* Adam Henrique (NJ): 2nd career multi-goal game (both came at home)
* Flyers: lost 3 straight road games (scored combined 4 goals in those losses)
* Jakub Voracek (PHI): 13th goal of season (5 goals shy of tying career high)

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