Canadiens hoping for quick start vs. Rangers
NEW YORK -- A slow start didn't doom the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night. But they'll probably need to jump out quicker on Tuesday if they want to make their brief trip to New York a truly successful one.
The Canadiens will look to earn a sweep of a back-to-back set Tuesday night, when they visit the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in a battle of ?Original Six? franchises.
Both teams are coming off wins in their most recent games. The Canadiens overcame a two-goal first period deficit Monday night to edge the host New York Islanders, 4-3, in the shootout. The Rangers earned their third straight victory Sunday, when they beat the visiting Buffalo Sabres, 3-1.
The Canadiens (8-4-2) fell behind 3-1 in the first period Monday and didn't take the lead until Joel Armia scored the lone goal in the shootout.
"The alarm clock went off in the dressing room," Montreal coach Claude Julien said afterward. "I just thought we had a slow start that first period. We weren't ourselves. We weren't good and we couldn't continue that way. But we talked about what we needed to do in the dressing room and what we needed to get better and the guys just responded well."
The Rangers (6-7-1) also responded well to an internal challenge Sunday, when they held on to a third period lead against the Sabres. New York gave up the tying or go-ahead goal in the final minute of regulation in each of its previous three games, though it won two of those contests by beating San Jose and Anaheim in the shootout.
On Sunday, though, the Rangers withstood a flurry by the Sabres after the latter pulled goalie Carter Hutton before Jimmy Vesey's empty netter put the game away with 1:51 remaining.
"I think we've definitely learned things," Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk told reporters following the game. "The way you have to learn, unfortunately, is to get bit in the (rear end) a little bit. So, I think we did a good job of, when pucks did turn over, we held our ground, we didn't rush out of position."
A pair of star goalies who have won the Vezina Trophy as the best net-minder in the NHL are likely to start Tuesday night.
Carey Price, the Canadiens? number one goalie, should start after backup Antti Niemi played and earned the win Monday night. Price, who won the Vezina Trophy as well as the Hart Trophy as the NHL?s Most Valuable Player during the 2014-15 season, made his most recent start Saturday, when he took the loss after recording 32 saves as Montreal fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1.
Lundqvist, who won the Vezina Trophy in 2011-12, earned the win Sunday, when he made 39 saves against the Sabres. He has started five of the Rangers' last six games.
Price is 16-6-1 in 24 career appearances against the Rangers. Lundqvist is 15-17-3 in 36 games against the Canadiens.