Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Wild ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Zach Parise Getty Images

    Can they take a step forward this season?

  2. Glencross regrets taking hometown discount

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Curtis Glencross Getty Images

    He’s currently an unrestricted free agent.

  3. Under Pressure: Brandon Saad

    Aug 29, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Brandon Saad Getty Images

    Columbus bet heavily on him this summer.

  4. Poll: Will Columbus win its first playoff series?

    Aug 29, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Ryan Johansen Getty Images

    Just making the postseason would be seen as a good season, but perhaps the Blue Jackets are in position to do more.

  5. Looking to make the leap: Sonny Milano

    Aug 29, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    Sonny Milano Getty Images

    This will be his first full season as a pro.

  6. Tributes pour in for Al Arbour

    Aug 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

    “We did lose a great man.”

  7. Blue Jackets ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 29, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Scott Hartnell Getty Images

    The Blue Jackets have to hope for better health this season.

  8. It’s Columbus Blue Jackets day at PHT

    Aug 29, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Ryan Johansen AP

    Looking to bounce back after an injury-ravaged campaign.

  9. Calder runner-up Stone says injured wrist is ‘100 percent’

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    150829_MarkStone Getty Images

    You know, the one injured on “that” slash from P.K. Subban.

  10. Pens sign prospect Sprong to entry-level deal

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Draft - Portraits 2015 NHL Draft - Portraits

    The club’s top pick at this year’s draft.

  11. Kings bringing veteran goalie Budaj to camp on PTO

    Aug 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    Peter Budaj Peter Budaj

    Former Avs and Habs goalie spent all of last year in the AHL.

  12. Detroit adds analytics specialist to front office

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    Yet another NHL club hiring a fancy stats guy.

  13. Stars re-sign Eakin: four years, $15.4 million

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars

    Scored a career-high 19 goals and 40 points last year.

  14. Sharks’ biggest question: Does DeBoer make a difference?

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    San Jose Sharks Name Peter Deboer Head Coach Getty Images

    Former Panthers, Devils head coach takes over a team that “hit a little bit of a rut.”

  15. Looking to make the leap: Mirco Mueller

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    After an up-and-down rookie year, he’s looking to solidify his spot.

  16. Hall of Famer Al Arbour passes away

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Getty Images

    Legendary Isles coach had been battling Parkinson’s and dementia.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1802)
  2. P. Kane (1332)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1182)
  4. S. Matthias (1136)
  5. M. Giordano (1038)