With points in four of their last five games, the New York Rangers may be developing a semblance of momentum.
They’ll look to carry that forward against another perennial Eastern Conference contender off to a slow start, as they’ll take on the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre tonight (7:00, MSG/NHL Network).
The Rangers (3-6-2) are 2-1-2 over their last five, picking up a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. While they spoiled Derek Stepan’s return to MSG, they were able to properly celebrate milestones by Rick Nash and Marc Staal, as they each played in their 1,000th and 700th NHL game respectively. The fourth line stole the show, as they were responsible for four of the five Ranger goals. Michael Grabner and Pavel Buchnevich had two goal each, the latter picking up the first multi-goal game of his career. Cristoval “Boo” Nieves, in his second NHL game and first at MSG, added three assists, while Chris Kreider added the other goal.
Meanwhile, the Canadiens (2-7-1) are still reeling from a seven-games winless streak that followed an opening night victory in Buffalo. They were able to end it with a 5-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night, but followed that up with a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday at Bell Centre. Shea Weber had a pair of goals in the Florida win.
This will be the second time the Rangers and Canadiens square off this season, with the Rangers winning 2-0 at MSG. Mika Zibanejad and Brady Skjei had goals, while Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves to earn the 62nd shutout of his career.
Ondrej Pavelec is set to make his second consecutive start for the Rangers. He made 28 saves to earn his first win of the season, and as a Rangers, against Arizona on Thursday night.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490