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. Could Burns bounce between forward and defense?

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT

    BrentBurns3

    Do Thornton and Marleau disagree with coach Todd McLellan on this point?

  2. Sabres’ Reinhart will debut in preseason opener Sunday

    Sep 20, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

    Sam Reinhart AP

    It’s his first chance to provide his argument for why he should make the team.

  3. Bruins ’14 first-rounder Pastrnak injures shoulder

    Sep 20, 2014, 4:08 PM EDT

    David Pastrnak Getty Images

    Tough timing for him as he had been playing alongside fellow countryman David Krejci.

  4. Bruins’ Warsofsky taking Krug’s spot

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    David Warsofsky Getty Images

    Optimistic about sticking with the big club out of camp.

  5. Report: Clarkson, Bozak out with lower body injuries

    Sep 20, 2014, 2:13 PM EDT

    David Clarkson #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates in a pre-season game against the Buffalo Sabres on Sept 22, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
(September 21, 2013 - Source: Claus Andersen/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Expected to miss a couple days according to Randy Carlyle.

  6. Would the Leafs break up their top line?

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

    Phil Kessel AP

    Experimentation process has begun as team looks for secondary scoring.

  7. Lindback, Rynnas battle for backup job in Dallas

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Stars searching for a suitable No. 2 behind Kari Lehtonen.

  8. Avs’ Tanguay looking to bounce back from injury riddled season

    Sep 20, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 24: Alex Tanguay #40 of the Colorado Avalanche skates with the puck against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on January 24, 2014 in Sunrise, Florida. Colorado defeated the Panthers 3-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After playing in just 16 games in 2013-14, he’s looking to be a contributor this season.

  9. Evander Kane: I know I can score 50 goals

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT

    Evander Kane AP

    The Winnipeg Jets would settle for far less after he scored just 19 last season.

  10. Tom Wilson (broken leg) not sure when he’ll return

    Sep 19, 2014, 10:03 PM EDT

    Tom Wilson Getty Images

    The last thing he wants is to suffer a setback by rushing his recovery.

  11. ‘C’-less Thornton comes out swing against Wilson’s ‘tomorrow team’ talk

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:37 PM EDT

    TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 3: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 3, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Sharks defeated the Leafs 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

    That’s not the only summer statement he took exception to.

  12. Video: Grieving Ryan Suter talks about his late father

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:04 PM EDT

    uwbadgersbobsuter

    Bob Suter was a defenseman on the “Miracle on Ice” team.

  13. Desjardins: Canucks comfortable carrying three goalies

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    Jacob Markstrom Getty Images

    That usually doesn’t end well, but this might be an exception.

  14. Clowe ‘advised’ to fight less, not sure he will

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:59 PM EDT

    CloweDevils Getty Images

    He suffered three concussions in under a year.

  15. Orpik heard good things ‘human-being wise’ about Trotz

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Brooks Orpik Getty Images

    It’s part of the reason why the defenseman is playing for Washington.

  16. Joe Sakic’s now general manager in name too

    Sep 19, 2014, 4:17 PM EDT

    Joe Sakic Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations of the Colorado Avalanche addresses the media as Patrick Roy is introduced as the new Head Coach/Vice President of Hockey Operations of the Colorado Avalanche during a press conference at the Pepsi Center on May 28, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.
(May 27, 2013 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Greg Sherman stayed on as his assistant.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Quick (1356)
  2. B. Schenn (1135)
  3. N. Horton (1056)
  4. B. Bishop (1021)
  5. R. McDonagh (1014)