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Game #11 ~ New York Rangers @ Montreal Canadiens. Saturday, October 28th, 2017.


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Saturday, October 28th, 2017

New York Rangers (3-6-2) @ Montreal Canadiens (2-7-1)



MONTREAL - The Canadiens will be renewing acquaintances with their rivals from the 2017 playoffs for the second time this season, as they are set to face the New York Rangers on Saturday at the Bell Centre.

In their first meeting, the Habs' third game of the season, the Rangers took the cake, winning 2-0 off goals from Brady Skjei and Mika Zibanejad.

Saturday's game marks the end of a three-game homestand for Montreal. Earlier in the week, the Canadiens handily beat the Florida Panthers by a score of 5-1 on Tuesday, before falling to the Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 two days later.

On practice on Friday, head coach Claude Julien featured mostly the same line combinations that he employed in both the Florida and Los Angeles games. Nikita Scherbak, who left Thursday's game with a lower-body injury, did not practice. Torrey Mitchell and Jacob De La Rose were used alternatively on a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Michael McCarron in his stead.

Julien confirmed on Friday that Carey Price would once again defend the Canadiens' net against New York. Price has a 15-6-0-1 record in 23 career appearances against the Rangers to go along with a 1.83 goals-against average, .939 save percentage and seven shutouts.

As for the visitors, head coach Alain Vigneault announced on Friday that Ondrej Pavelec would be his starter. Pavelec, 30, holds a 6-9-0-1 record, .908 save percentage, 2.74 goals-against average and two shutouts in 17 career games against Montreal. The Czech netminder was in goal for the Rangers on Thursday night and turned aside 27 of the 29 shots he faced in a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Three players lead New York in scoring with eight points each - Mika Zibanejad (6G, 2A), Mats Zuccarello (2G, 6A) and J.T. Miller (2G, 6A). Pavel Buchnevich and Kevin Shattenkirk aren't far behind with seven points apiece.

Saturday's game marks the second edition of FANatic Saturdays at the Bell Centre. The SiriusXM guest DJ of the night is DJ Advocate, while Stephane Richer will be available for a photo op from 5:15 p.m.-6:15 p.m. Click here for a full list of special initiatives taking place surrounding the game.

Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Sportsnet ONE, City and TVA Sports, and will be on the radio on TSN 690 and 98,5 fm.


BROSSARD -- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex on Saturday, ahead of facing the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre.

Jordie Benn, Brandon Davidson, Jacob De La Rose, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk, Charles Hudon, Michael McCarron, Victor Mete, Torrey Mitchell, Al Montoya, Joe Morrow, and Carey Price were the 12 players who hit the ice at the team's south shore practice facility.

Claude Julien did not hold a morning press conference, so any changes to the lineup will only be known closer to puck drop.

The Habs head coach did confirm on Friday however, that Carey Price will be back in goal to face the Blueshirts.



The Habs and Rangers most recently met in the 2017 playoffs, of course, and then again during this season's opening road swing, in New York on October 8.

The Habs lost that opening round series 4-2, and then dropped this year's rematch 2-0 earlier this month in Manhattan.

Since then, Montreal and New York have gotten off of to similar 2-7-1 and 3-6-2 starts in their first 10 and 11 games, respectively, and the renewed rivals would love to turn their seasons around at the expense of the other.

"Yeah, we're both in a similar position right now. We've had similar starts to the year. Both teams already don't really like each other from the playoffs last year, and we're both trying [to get out of a funk] as quickly as possible," underlined forward Jonathan Drouin, who registered one career point while with Tampa in seven games against the Rangers. "We both want to start winning some games, so it should be a pretty good one tonight."

Indeed, pleasantries should be at a premium on Saturday night.

"Whenever you face a team in the playoffs -- it doesn't matter -- at some point in the next year you'll play them and there will be an extra something. A little more jump, more stick checks, more cross checks…" continued Drouin, who will play his second game against New York as a Hab, and first in Montreal. "We definitely felt that [at MSG], and it's going to be the same tonight at the Bell Centre."



The Canadiens have been regularly outshooting their opponents early on this season, and are first in the NHL with an average of 38.4 shots per game.

All that rubber hasn't exactly translated into goals though, at least not yet. Having found the back of the net just 17 times through 10 games this season, Montreal ranks 31st league-wide in Goals For.

Something's got to give.

"Those are going to start going in for us, and that's really what we believe in here," stressed forward Michael McCarron, who was called up from Laval on October 22. "We've got great leadership in the room. Everybody's saying the right things and doing the right things, and when that happens, you're going to get rewarded. It's only a matter of time."

In the meantime, the Habs will look towards special teams as a means to get the offence going.

"[The power play] was a big difference during the Florida game. It changed the game completely to get two power play goals," added Drouin, who picked up assists on both tallies with the man advantage on Tuesday. "That's how you win games these days. You turn a 1-1 game into a 2-1 game, then 3-1… Our power play's been good, but it's got to be even better.



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13 minutes ago, habby67 said:

Hope they do not fall behind early or they'll clear the rink faster than pulling the fire alarm.

It might be a good thing for our Habs if it happens that way. At least the ownership and management will be in the hot-seat and under pressure to do something drastic as a result.

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