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PHT Morning Skate: Habs fight to overcome Rangers blowout victory

May 19, 2014, 8:07 AM EDT

For the second straight year, the Western Conference playoffs has come down to a series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings. Chicago struck first yesterday, overcoming a disallowed goal that was quickly followed by Kings forward Tyler Toffoli finding the back of the net, to earn a 3-1 victory over Los Angeles.

The Kings refused to blame fatigue for their disappointing Game 1 despite the fact that they had just finished their second straight seven-game series. Even still, the fact that they won’t play again until Wednesday should be to their benefit.

In the meantime, the Eastern Conference Final will continue:

Game 2: New York Rangers versus Montreal Canadiens [Rangers lead series 1-0] (8:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The only silver lining Montreal can take from the series opener is that it was just one game. The Rangers struck early and often in Game 1 en route to a 7-2 blowout victory.

For a New York team that has had some offensive issues thus far, the victory had to be a huge confidence booster. Their power-play — which has been more miss than hit over the course of the playoffs — was three-for-seven, Rick Nash finally scored a goal, and Ryan McDonagh enjoyed a four-point game against the team that drafted him.

The news on the other end wasn’t so cheery as goaltender Carey Price might have been hurt when Rangers forward Chris Kreider crashed into him on Saturday.

Price initially stayed in the game and after he was finally pulled, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien downplayed the decision. However, Price only skated for five minutes Sunday morning and skipped the team’s optional practice.

When Therrien was asked if he had any doubt about Price’s availability for Game 2, he said, “I can’t tell you that right now.”

If Price isn’t able to play, it would be a serious blow to Montreal. Peter Budaj is a capable backup, but he has a career 5.13 GAA and .843 save percentage in seven playoff contests and the 20 minutes he played in Game 1 marked his first appearance in over a month. He might be respectable if Montreal needs him to play, but he’s unlikely to steal the show like Price can or win a goaltending duel against Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist.

All the same, Montreal is far from out of this series and the Rangers understand that.

“We’re going to see a whole different team (tonight) and we’re expecting a big push from them,” Brad Richards said.

  1. hockey412 - May 19, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    Gad that would be a horrible twist to the playoffs if Price can’t play – second goalie run by Kreider on ‘accident’ in two series, the first being in his first game back…but I’m sure it’d be a bigger deal for NYR fans if Hank was accidentally bowled over.

    • jkay1818 - May 19, 2014 at 8:38 AM

      you mean the goal kreider scored that was somehow disallowed? and then to add insult to injury, not only was the goal nullified, they called a penalty on kreider instead of a letang cross check.

      • hockey412 - May 19, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        The only ‘injury’ at risk, since you mentioned injuries, was to Fleury. When will all these ‘accidents’ from Kreider stop being a coincidence?

      • 7mantel - May 19, 2014 at 10:34 AM

        412 comment on the shove from behind by Letang that caused Kreider to bump Fluery.

    • 311sucks - May 19, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      yawn. he was pushed by letang and chopped at by emelin. get over it.

      • hockey412 - May 19, 2014 at 10:25 AM

        And next time they’ll be another excuse. I don’t care much what happens in the series, just hate to see one player repeatedly taking an angle that isn’t available without contact with the goalie, and would love to see the league step in on this ‘well I was touched and have a right to an unimpeded route to the goalie’ BS.

      • habs1987 - May 19, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        If that arrogant ny goalie would have been bowled over, you wouldn’t be so pleased. Tactless play by a jerk because their team couldn’t handle the challenge of Price. Just a continuation of typical new york arrogance.

      • drewzducks - May 19, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        412 conveniently forgets that his Pens’ Megna wiped out Mason at the end of the regular season, forcing him to miss nearly the entire first round vs. NYR. They also repeatedly ran Bobrovsky during their matchup with Columbus, Vitale in Game 2 and Kunitz Game 5.

    • nebbah306 - May 19, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      Did you watch the replay? He got slashed, not once, but twice, once on each leg…could he have probably done something different with his skates? Sure, but he was going very fast and it was a bang bang play. If it was so bad, why didnt any Canadien go after Kreider after the play? Or why was there no penalty? Maybe because the penalty would have been on the Canadiens?

      • hockey412 - May 19, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        ““I don’t think he’s a real dirty player,” Prust said of Kreider. “But in this situation he went skates first right into his leg.”

        Prust continued: “We call that accidentally on purpose.”

        Prust attempted to get back at Kreider in the third period but drew a double-minor and a 10-minute misconduct that helped lead to three Rangers power play goals. Oops.”

        This was from the other article. I very much think the contact with Fleury was avoidable.

      • habs1987 - May 19, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        Why on earth would it have been a penalty for the Habs? That doesn’t even make sense! That jerk intentionally injured Price because that inferior team didn’t stand a chance in the series if Carey was at his best. I was at that game, and yes, the Habs were not playing to their full potential on Saturday, but to take out a player like that is unacceptable! Man up and play even-handed, not like some immature punk.

    • 7mantel - May 19, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      The Pens bumped Hank every chance they got ,your choir boys are the worst around the net .

      • hockey412 - May 19, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        That’s not even true – AV was angry because they ‘poked’ him. I didn’t see a single poke AFTER the whistle, so they must have thought the Pens needed to stop play before the whistle, which doesn’t make sense either. I think I’d rather the goalie gets poked in the glove than run with an elbow. The only foul play at a goalie I’ve seen this year was Megna, pushing Macdonald into Mason. I didn’t like that play either – thought it should have been looked at.

      • arrow43050 - May 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        412 you’re funny. You didn’t see a poke after the whistle? You must have been watching the game on radio then. It was clear in Game 7 that both league and on-ice officials had conversations with both teams because that was the first game of the entire series where that didn’t go on and also very little of the after the whistle b.s. too.

  2. heynyc61 - May 19, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    Just looking for excuses for being blown out in your own building. Kreider was pushed into fleury and his goal was disallowed. Terrible call and Saturday his ankle was chopped at causing him to fall into price. Blame the Habs dman for getting beat

    • hockey412 - May 19, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      Ah – then turnabout would be fair game, then.

      I’ve been saying this all year long – has nothing to do with the Pens. We’ve seen this way too much this year. Forwards take every opportunity to flop on the goalie after the whistle, yet fans are so quick to justify contact with a ‘well they were pushed’…it’s BS. Anyone playing in the game, including Prust in this case, knows it. The league has to hand out accountability or it will continue.

    • habs1987 - May 19, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      This has nothing to do with being beat at Bell Centre. The fact is the play was intentional and it was a narcissistic excuse to take out one out our best players. I’m sick of the constant rule bending for ny teams. What the hell makes them so entitled?

  3. montrealbbr - May 19, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    A goalie should never be run into like that. They need to suspend players who do it or else this could become a dirty tactic that teams will use if a goalie gets hot.

    • joey4id - May 19, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      This is not the first time in the history of playoff hockey a goalie gets run over. Expect to see the Habs do the same.

      • drewzducks - May 19, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        File footage from Saturday’s Price collision:

    • habs1987 - May 19, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      I’m sick of the smug attitudes of players who think it is okay to behave like this. And yes, if proper punishments are not going to be enforced, it will continue to happen. Screw that dunce for thinking that the Habs won’t attack back in this series.

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