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Sat, Nov 23 7:00 PM ET New York Rangers @ Montreal CITY, SNE, TVAS, MSG 2, TSN 690 Radio


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TONITE THE GOOD GUYS TAKE ON THE RANGERS

Sat, Nov 23  7:00 PM ET  New York Rangers @ Montreal  CITY, SNE, TVAS, MSG 2, TSN 690 Radio.

 

The matchup: If you’re an optimist, the Canadiens have picked up four points in their last four games but, if you’re are realist, they have lost their last three games to teams that are below them in the standings. The Rangers fall onto that category, but they’ve shown signs of life lately and had a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 games heading into Friday night’s game in Ottawa.

The goaltenders: Carey Price played back-to-back games this week, but managed to collect only one point as the Canadiens lost in Columbus on Tuesday and dropped an overtime decision to the Senators on Wednesday at the Bell Centre. The Ottawa game was one of Price’s better performances this season, but he had no help from the offence, which produced only one goal. Henrik Lundqvist started for the Rangers in Ottawa and that means the Canadiens will likely face Alexandar Georgiev. He and Lundqvist have split the work this season and neither has been very good. The Rangers rank 26th in defence, allowing 3.47 goals a game.

Julien makes changes: Canadiens coach Claude Julien made one change on defence, swapping Mike Reilly for Brett Kulak. Reilly will be paired with rookie Cale Fleury and he’ll also see some action on the power play. Julien also did some juggling on his forward lines and the result is that Nick Suzuki will move to left wing on the second line and Max Domi will return to centre. Suzuki played well at centre against Ottawa, but Julien felt Domi lost some of his speed playing on the outside. Domi has earned only one assist in the last five games.

Armia hits dry spell: Domi isn’t the only player who has struggled of late. Joel Armia notched his seventh goal in Columbus, but he has only one goal and one assist in his last nine games. Fellow Finn Jesperi Kotkaniemi has gone seven games without collecting a point and is stuck on three points for the season. The Canadiens are 0-1-2 with Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron out of the lineup and other players have to step up.

Panarin on a roll: There were some raised eyebrows during the off-season when the Rangers lured Artemi Panarin away from Columbus with a seven-year, US$81.5-million contract. But the Russian is earning his keep and leads the Rangers with 11 goals and 14 assists. He went into Ottawa on Friday with a 12-game point-scoring streak that produced seven goals and 12 assists. Linemate Ryan Strome has benefitted from Panarin’s presence and has six goals and 13 assists. New York is missing Mika Zibanejad (upper-body injury) and Marc Staal (ankle).

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