Rangers-Canadiens Preview

Wojtek Wolski came close to delivering the tying goal against
the Montreal Canadiens in his New York Rangers debut earlier this
week, but he just missed and his new team lost.

After coming up big in perhaps New York’s most impressive win of
the season, Wolski gets another shot at Montreal as the surging
Rangers look to snap a three-game skid to the Canadiens on Saturday
night.

Wolski’s second-period power-play goal lifted the Rangers to a
1-0 victory over NHL-leading Vancouver on Thursday, ending the
Canucks’ 17-game unbeaten streak in regulation. It was Wolski’s
second game with New York (26-16-3) after being acquired from
Phoenix on Monday.

”I can already feel, after two games, the kind of team
chemistry and work ethic we have here,” he said. “I am
excited.”

Wolski nearly delivered his first big moment with the Rangers
against Montreal on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. With New York
down one with 3 minutes left, the winger’s shot hit goaltender Alex
Auld’s pad and slid harmlessly across the crease, and the Rangers
fell 2-1.

The loss was the Rangers’ third straight in the series, and New
York has also dropped two in a row at the Bell Centre. It’s 1-2-2
in its last five visits to Montreal and the last one was
particularly forgettable, a 6-0 defeat Jan. 23.

Henrik Lundqvist was chased in the second period of that game
after allowing four goals, and he gave up a soft goal to Benoit
Pouliot in the third period Tuesday that proved to be the winner.
Lundqvist, though, made 31 saves Thursday for his sixth shutout of
the season and is 5-1-1 with a 1.41 goals-against average in his
last seven starts.

He seems likely to be back in net as New York tries to avoid its
first four-game losing streak to Montreal (24-17-3) since Oct. 11,
2002-April 5, 2003. The Rangers have totaled two goals during the
three-game slide.

The Rangers, though, bring some momentum into Saturday’s game.
They’ve won four of five and gone 6-2-1 in their last nine
contests, giving up three goals only once during that span.

“We are growing as a team,” said coach John Tortorella, whose
club has won consecutive games on the road. “Everyone contributed
to this win. And it was a real good answer to a very tough loss to
Montreal the other night. That’s what I liked most about tonight’s
game.”

The Rangers have the league’s best record in one-goal games at
13-3-3.

Montreal’s victory over the New York on Tuesday was its third
straight, but that run came to end in a 5-2 defeat to Pittsburgh on
Wednesday.

Carey Price returned to the net and stopped 31 shots. Despite
giving up all five goals, he’ll probably start Saturday despite a
career 3.35 GAA against the Rangers and Auld’s 4-0-2 record and
0.97 GAA versus New York.

“We have the Rangers coming up on Saturday and that’s going to
be a huge game that we have to win,” center Tomas Plekanec said.
“It’s going to be a very similar situation to our second game
against Pittsburgh (within a week) but we obviously want to make
sure the same thing doesn’t happen.”

Forward Michael Cammalleri has six goals in his last three games
against the Rangers, but he missed his second game in a row because
of the flu Tuesday and is uncertain for this game.

Montreal is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games overall versus the
Rangers.