Game Day: Montreal Canadiens Vs. New York Rangers

 

Montreal Canadiens Vs. New York Rangers

The New Madison Square Garden

New York, New York

 

After over a month and twelve games if the team you supported was 500 would you be happy?  If the team you followed was average without having its top defenceman in the line-up would you be happy?  Well that is where the Montreal Canadiens are.  They are just an average team sitting just out of a playoff position.  How they got here is a different story but how they move forward is more important.

 

The eminent off and on return of the Andrei Markov which was the big story two weeks ago has been forgotten.  P.K. Subban has shrugged off his early season struggles and the rest of the d-core have stepped up.  Offensively the team is being lead by Erik Cole as he has broken free from the shackles of Perry Pearn and his skating and up tempo play has rubbed off on most of the other forwards. 

 

The Rangers have started the season much the same as the Habs.  They are still struggling to find an identity.  The early season trip to Europe with the ever unfolding story of Sean Avery has taken away from what should have been a very exciting season.  The Madison Square Garden has been over hauled and that excitement should have rubbed off on the team.  Adding Brad Richards should have helped in that regard but it seems the Rangers season will be one stuck in either eighth or ninth place.  It will be another season filled with talk of Avery and waiting for the next rant of Tortorella.

 

Previous Game:

The Habs are coming off a well fought two to one victory in Ottawa.  Andrei Kostitsyn and Erik Cole helped Carey Price get his third win in a row.  The Ranger’s ex Hab Jeff Woywitka scored his first goal and helped net the team a shootout win against the Anaheim Ducks. 

 

Who to look for:

Everyone, most of everyone, is hot for the Habs.  Coach Martin has had the ability to role all his four lines and most of the skaters have responded.  David Desharnais has solidified his place in the league and Lars Eller has returned to his form at the end of last season.  Even though Cole has been the best forward for the past two weeks he still gets the least ice time of all the top six skaters.  It will be interesting to see if this trend continues.  Captain Brian Gionta is the only Hab who has struggled.  His hard-nosed play hasn’t stopped but he just doesn’t seem to be getting any bounces.

 

Sean Avery, Sean Avery and what John Tortorella says after the game.  Those two are the only real interesting Rangers to keep an eye out for.  Dan Girardi and Jeff Woywitka have enjoyed their increased ice time with the injury to Marc Stall.  Captain Ryan Callahan continues his steady play

 

Injuries:

The Habs are still without Markov, Gomez, Campoli and White.  That statement should just be put on repeat for the next few games.  The Rangers will be without Michael Rupp and stud d-man Marc Stall who is still out with concussion issues.

 

Twelve games in and the Habs have gone on two streaks.  They have had a stretch of losing six in a row and tonight, they try to win their fifth game in row.  Being average might be okay in places like Toronto or Buffalo but not in Montreal.  Being average in Montreal should lead to more changes.  Coach Martin and general manager Pierre Gauthier shouldn’t be resting on their laurels even if the Habs win tonight. 

 

The game will be on CBC, RDS and broadcast on TSN990 in Montreal at 7 pm EST.

 

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Shahab Khan the Schoolboy