Skip to content

PHT Morning Skate: Habs fight to overcome Rangers blowout victory

May 19, 2014, 8:07 AM EST

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. Loss to Red Wings a ‘wake-up call’ for Islanders

    Jan 31, 2015, 6:19 PM EST

    Jack Capuano AP

    Two losses in a row for the Islanders.

  2. Mike Richards trying to make the best of being sent to the AHL

    Jan 31, 2015, 5:53 PM EST

    Mike Richards Getty Images

    Was put on waivers, cleared, and sent to the minors this week.

  3. Red Wings’ youth shines vs. Isles for ninth win in 11 games

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:47 PM EST

    Gustav Nyquist, Thomas Hickey, Matt Martin, Justin Abdelkader AP

    Detroit is forcing itself into the Stanley Cup conversation.

  4. Price leads Habs past Caps with second straight shutout

    Jan 31, 2015, 4:08 PM EST

    Jay Beagle, Carey Price, Andrei Markov AP

    Montreal has put pressure on Tampa Bay in the battle for the Eastern Conference lead.

  5. Horton shows some improvement, future remains cloudy

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:48 PM EST

    Columbus Blue Jackets v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    He has a degenerative back injury that might lead to career-ending surgery.

  6. Goalie nods: Smith gets shot at revenge vs. Senators

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:56 PM EST

    Ottawa Senators v Arizona Coyotes Getty Images

    He gave up five goals against them on Jan. 10.

  7. This will be a milestone night for several Flyers

    Jan 31, 2015, 12:57 PM EST

    Jakub Voracek Getty Images

    Meanwhile Philadelphia will try to win its fourth straight game.

  8. Red Wings, Islanders face off in unlikely battle for the East

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:57 AM EST

    Jaroslav Halak, Pavel Datsyuk AP

    They’ve surpassed the early season expectations.

  9. Bettman willing to consider making cap data public

    Jan 31, 2015, 10:11 AM EST

    Gary Bettman AP

    But he seems very reluctant on the matter.

  10. Kane, Sharp lead Blackhawks over Ducks

    Jan 31, 2015, 2:00 AM EST

    Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane

    Anaheim has now lost two straight in regulation for the first time since November.

  11. Miller sends ex-Buffalo mates to 14th straight loss

    Jan 31, 2015, 1:15 AM EST

    Carolina Hurricanes v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    Sabres conclude January with an 0-12-0 record.

  12. Video: Jarome Iginla records his 1,200th NHL point

    Jan 30, 2015, 11:35 PM EST

    Ottawa Senators v Colorado Avalanche Ottawa Senators v Colorado Avalanche

    He’s now tied with Dino Ciccarelli on the all-time points list.

  13. Video: Despres’ OT winner lifts the Pens over the Devils

    Jan 30, 2015, 11:00 PM EST

    Simon Despres Getty Images

    Kris Letang has assisted on Pittsburgh’s last seven goals.

  14. Blackhawks plan on keeping Darling in the mix

    Jan 30, 2015, 9:30 PM EST

    Chicago Blackhawks v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    He’s a restricted free agent after this season.

Featured video

Kings come back in third to top Blackhawks
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (3654)
  2. S. Crosby (3040)
  3. T. Hall (2876)
  4. P. Rinne (2626)
  5. M. Brodeur (2556)
  1. C. Price (2521)
  2. K. Letang (2479)
  3. T. Johnson (2461)
  4. M. Richards (2285)
  5. P. Hornqvist (2264)