Playoff Pre Game: Montreal Canadiens @ New York Rangers, Round 1 Game 6

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The Montreal Canadiens will be taking on the New York Rangers in game 6. The two teams will be playing in New York at the MSG. Tonight’s game will be Montreal’s biggest game in years. The Habs will be trying to fend off elimination after going down 3 games to 2 on Thursday.

Things were looking very good for the Habs through after the first period. Up 2-1 going into the 2nd, all signs pointed to a Habs win. With goals from Arturri Lehkonen and Brendan Gallagher, the Habs were in full control of the game. Unfortunately, the Rangers were able to tie the game up late in the 2nd with a goal from Brady Skjei. Despite the very good start, everything changed after the 2nd intermission. The Rangers began to slowly take control of the game. With the teams tied after 3, the game headed to OT. In overtime, the Habs were a complete disappointment. The were outshot 10-3, and rarely had control of the puck. After several other dangerous chances, Mika Zibenajad scored the game winner for the Rangers.

The Habs now find themselves in a terrible position. Tonight’s game will be a must-win elimination game for the Habs. A loss would eliminate the Habs from the playoffs, and put an end to a promising season. If the Habs are eliminated this early in the playoffs it will be a huge disappointment to all Habs fans. There may also be some big shake-ups come the offseason, whether it’s with key players or within the management.

With a win tonight, the Habs will turn the tables in the series. Game 7 (if needed) will be played at the Bell Centre, with the advantage going to Montreal. It would not surprise anyone if the winner of this game is the winner of this series.

 

Storylines

 

Max Pacioretty

I gave him the benefit of the doubt before game 5, but Max Pacioretty NEEDS to step up tonight. 5 games in and the captain is still yet to score. In game 5, Pacioretty had several high-quality scoring chances to put the game to rest. This included a breakaway to most likely win it with less than 5 minutes left in the 3rd. Pacioretty needed to bare down and get his team a goal. Unfortunately, he let all his fans, and more importantly, all of his teammates down. Pacioretty must break out of this slump, or else the Habs are most likely headed out of the playoffs.

Mr. Saturday Night

Over the past few years, Carey Price has been unbelievable on Saturday nights. Since 2014, Price’s record has been unreal on Saturday’s, with his winning percentage being around .900%. To put this into perspective, Montreal’s winning percentage this season was .573%, over .300% less than Price’s Saturday Night record. If Price is able to play like he usually does on Saturday’s, the Habs should be able to push this series to 7 games.

 

Montreal Lineup Notes

-After back to back losses, Claude Julien has really switched up the lines for tonight’s game.

Forwards:

1st Line: No changes.

2nd Line: Lehkonen has swapped places with Byron, and will be playing with Plekanec and Gallagher.

3rd Line: Byron takes Lehkonen’s spot. Galchenyuk has moved to the wing. Brian Flynn in playing center, filling in for Andrew Shaw who has suffered an upper-body injury and will not play tonight.

4th Line: Mike McCarron draws in for Mitchell.

Defense:

1st Pair: No changes.

2nd Pair: Emelin moves up to play with Petry.

3rd Pair: Nikita Nesterov takes the place of Beaulieu, and will play with Benn.

 

Fun Fact

In the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Alain Vigneault and his Vancouver Canucks were up 3-2 on Claude Julien and his Boston Bruins. Claude Julien ended up winning the series and hoisting the cup.

 

Puck Drop is an hour later tonight, and will be at 8:00 ET. Go Habs Go!

Thomas D'Onofrio

Thomas D'Onofrio is the 16-year-old writer for the website Puck Planet. Anything Thomas usually does revolves around the sport of hockey. He has been a huge Montreal Canadiens fan since the young age of 4, as well a big hockey fan in general. He has also been playing hockey for over 10 years. It has always been a dream of his to make a living our of the sport he loves, whether it is in media, management, or actually playing hockey at a high level. By being able to write for Puck Planet, he has taken the first big step towards reaching his dreams. He hopes for a long, successful tenure with Puck Planet, with many great things to come in the future! Feel free to follow his Twitter @TDonofrio31, for constant Habs and Hockey tweets.

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