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.