Game Preview by Sam Gerber, Staff Writer
Last game: WSH 6 MTL 1

The Habs played a disastrous opening period and never recovered. Alex Ovechkin scored a hat-trick in the opening frame and now has back to back hat-tricks in the first two games of the season, something that hasn’t happened in 100 years. The Habs battled back and controlled most of the second outshooting the Caps 20-7 but were only able to score once. The Habs will look to get right back on track as they face the Rangers.

For a complete recap: Canadiens – Capitals: Three Minutes to ‘L’

Players to watch

  • Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist
    Both netminders will look to bounce back after being pulled in last night’s games. Lucky for the fans we now can look forward to one of the best goaltending matchups in the league. Both players have something to prove and this match up will continue to be watched as it is a possibility they will duel each other in the playoffs one more time like they have the past two years.
  • Artturi Lehkonen
    This season, the Habs best line has been Charles Hudon – Tomas Plekanec – Artturi Lehkonen. It’s only a matter of time until this line starts producing on the scoreboard. Lehkonen scored 18 goals last season and will look to start providing offense tonight. Lehkonen doesn’t need much space to get the puck off.
  • David Desharnais
    Former Hab Desharnais signed a one-year contract with the Rangers in the off-season and performed well in the pre-season to solidify his spot with club. Look for Desharnais to battle hard against his former club.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk
    Shattenkirk brings the Rangers defense to another level and is lethal quarterbacking the powerplay.

Keys to Victory

  • Five guys
    The Habs will have to play as a team tonight, after last night’s game it was evident that they did not work together and it was repeated in post games interviews all 5 guys have to work together on the ice.
  • Strong defense
    The Habs defense struggled last night and will need to bounce back. Brandon Davidson will get his first start of the season while Mark Streit takes a much deserved seat
  • Smart passes
    The Habs were guilty of some bad passing in all areas of the ice on Saturday night which led to an early deficit. A smart first pass on the breakout is where a play begins and the Habs will need to execute it to get the puck out of their end and into the Rangers.
Matchup 
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY. | October 8, 7:00 PM ET | TV: NHLN, SN1, MSG+, RDS

2016-17 statistics

RANGERS CANADIENS
102 (9th) Points (NHL rank) 103 (7th)
48-28-6 Record 47-26-9
21-16-4 Home 24-12-5
27-12-2 Away 23-14-4
3-4-3 Last 10 6-3-1
3.09 GF/G 2.72
2.63 GA/G 2.41
20.2 PP% 19.7
79.8 PK% 81.1
 47.90  CF%  52.54
52.63 CF/60  58.77
57.24 CA/60 53.09
Advanced statistics at 5-on-5  
Projected forward lines, defense pairings and goaltenders
Forwards
Kreider – Zibanejad – Buchnevich
Nash – Chytil – Zuccarello
Grabner – Hayes – Miller
Vesey – Desharnais – Carey
Pacioretty – Drouin – Gallagher
Hudon – Plekanec – Lehkonen
Galchenyuk – Danault – Shaw
Byron – Mitchell – De La Rose 
Expected scratches: Hemsky
Defensemen
McDonagh – Shattenkirk
Skjei – Smith
Staal – DeAngelo
Mete – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Davidson – Benn
Expected scratches: Morrow, Streit
Goalies
Henrik Lundqvist (Confirmed) Carey Price  (Confirmed)
2016-’17 regular season:
Record: 31-20-4
GAA: 2.74
Sv%: .910
SO: 2
Alternate: Ondrej Pavelec
2016-’17 regular season:
Record: 37-20-5
GAA: 2.23
Sv%: .923
SO: 3
Alternate: Al Montoya
 What to Expect
Both teams were on the losing side of lopsided games last night. Look for both teams to make simple plays to start the game to stay out of trouble. Let’s not forget these teams do not like each other, the Habs have been on the losing side against the Rangers in the playoffs the last two years and will not want to be pushed around.

Prediction

Both goalies will redeem themselves from last night’s blunder and will keep it a low scoring game. I expect the game to be 2-1 or 3-2 and likely go into extra-time.

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