It has been hugely disappointing season for both Original Six teams, but at least Thursday’s winner can claim series bragging rights for 2017-18 as they have split two meetings.
Rangers vs Canadiens Betting Analysis
Way back on Oct. 8, the Rangers got their first win of the young season in a 2-0 home decision over the Canadiens. Henrik Lundqvist had 34 saves, with Brady Skjei and Mika Zibanejad scoring for the Blueshirts. Montreal had two goals disallowed in the first period. Carey Price finished with 23 saves.
On Oct. 28 at the Bell Centre, Price continued his career dominance over the Rangers in a 5-4 win. He had 22 saves in improving to 16-6-1 all-time against the Rangers in regular-season games. Philip Danault was the No. 1 star with two goals and two assists. The Canadiens blew leads of 3-1 and 4-2, but Danault scored the winner at 9:37 of the third. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 38 shots for the Rangers, while Rick Nash had a goal and an assist.
It’s not rare that both these teams miss the Stanley Cup playoffs in the same year, but it would take a minor miracle for either to make it at this point. One common denominator has been below-par goaltending despite each club having a future Hall of Famer in Lundqvist (eighth all-time in wins) and Price. The Rangers haven’t missed out since 2009-10 and this likely will be Alain Vigneault’s final season as the team’s head coach. Of course, the Quebec City native was Montreal’s coach from 1997-2001.
The Rangers have won just six of their past 21 trips to Montreal.
New York Rangers
The Rangers (27-28-5) have lost four straight and eight of 10 and could start trading pending free agents at any moment ahead of Monday’s trade deadline. It already has begun as New York sent defenceman Nick Holden to Boston earlier this week. Wingers Michael Grabner and Nash also are reportedly on the market. Lundqvist isn’t going anywhere, but he has been terrible over his past 11 starts, getting pulled four times with a 4.46 goals-against average and .873 save percentage. King Henrik was charged with all seven goals Sunday in a 7-4 home loss to the Flyers. On the season, he’s 23-21-4 with a 2.89 GAA and .914 SV. On offence, only Mats Zuccarello (42 points) has reached the 40-point mark on the season.
Montreal (22-29-8) continued its road woes Tuesday by losing its seventh straight away from home and sixth in a row overall, 3-2 in overtime at short-handed Philadelphia. The Flyers’ Jakub Voracek tied it at 2-2 at 18:35 of the third – with the Philly netminder having been pulled for the extra attacker — and won it at 1:26 of OT. Price stopped 30 shots but has now dropped his past five decisions. One piece of good news from the loss was the return of Danault. He had missed 15 games with concussion-like symptoms but played 15:05 and was plus-1. During the six-game skid, the Habs haven’t topped three goals in any.
Rangers vs. Canadiens Prediction
NEW YORK RANGERS2