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NHL on NBCSN: Road-weary Rangers host Habs in renovated MSG

Oct 28, 2013, 8:46 AM EDT

Madison Square Garden

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Rangers are 3-6-0, they’ve been blown out of games, and Brad Richards is their only healthy player with more than a single goal. Healthy is an important distinction to make because on top of everything else, some of their top players are or have been sidelined already.

Still, it’s worth taking their shortcomings with a grain of salt because they’ve arguably had the toughest schedule in the NHL so far. We’re almost into November and the Rangers are only now finally able to play in front of their fans. Every other team has already played in at least three home games this season.

Related: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Monday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the link.

“I think everybody is very very very happy to be home,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the Bergen Record now that the Madison Square Garden’s renovations are done.

“I was on a stretch in 2010 because the Olympics were in Vancouver we were gone from our home for a little more than six weeks if you count the two weeks for the Olympics. This was longer than that. If you count the exhibition games we played, this was longer than that.”

Vigneault didn’t want to use the length of their road trip as an excuse for the Rangers rough start, but he acknowledged the fact that it was a trying time. Fortunately for them, it’s in the past now. Tonight’s match doesn’t represent a fresh start for the Rangers — top forward Rick Nash along with captain Ryan Callahan are still hurt and going home doesn’t wipe the team’s record — but it provides them with a platform to stage their comeback.

Well, the venue is right at least, but on the other hand the Montreal Canadiens aren’t exactly the ideal team for the Rangers to face right now.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has been superb this season and will be a particular challenge for a largely snakebitten Rangers squad. Montreal has also been one of the best teams with the man advantage while the Rangers are the second least disciplined club in the league when it comes to penalty minutes per game.

New York will have netminder Henrik Lundqvist back after he missed two games with an undisclosed injury, but he’ll have his hands full against a Canadiens team that’s been firing on all cylinders so far.

So the Rangers won’t have an easy time tonight, but at least now they have an opportunity to defend the Garden.

  1. sportsfan69 - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Shouldn’t Talbot be in the net tonight? He’s playing better than Lundqvist. Let Lundqvist heal up nice and slowly. That way there’s NO EXCUSES for his poor goaltending play. Could it be Lundqvist is worried about being outplayed by a rookie? I call it like I see.

  2. justinhbhb - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Too bad Montreal is starting Peter Budaj tonight. Douglas Murray is also back and they called up Louis Leblanc from Hamilton to play. Lets see if Murray can replace Emelin for the time being. Gonna be a good game though, hoping to see Subban get a couple points and for Michaël Bournival to keep up his sucess!!

  3. imleftcoast - Oct 28, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Too bad NBC needs NYC to tell them that Original Six Canadian teams can draw a crowd.

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