Canadiens vs. Rangers: Key Matchups to Watch at the Garden

Mathias AskCorrespondent IIFebruary 19, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 30: (L) Tomas Plekanec #14 of the Montreal Canadiens is challenged by (R) Brandon Dubinsky #17 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 30, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The New York Rangers are hosting the Montreal Canadiens in what is sure to be an explosive game at Madison Square Garden.

The Canadiens are looking to overtake the Pittsburgh Penguins for the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Rangers seek a signature home win and some space between them and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Both teams have played solid hockey over the past few weeks. New York has won four out of the last five games, while Montreal is on a four-game winning streak.

Here are two key matchups for the game.


Henrik Lundqvist vs. Carey Price

The goaltender is by far the most important position in hockey and in this game we are going to be treated to an interesting duel.

Price has been out with the flu but he’s expected to make it back for the Rangers game.  He’s posted a 8-3-0 record so far with a 2.06 goals-against average.

Lundqvist had a rough start to the season, like the rest of the Rangers, but he’s been spectacular lately. Don’t be fooled by the 7-5-0 record and a 2.35 goals-against average. Lundqvist has four wins in his last four starts, and he’s managed a 1.47 GAA.

Historically, these two goalies have not fared well against each other’s teams. Lundqvist has only won three of his last eight starts against the Canadians and his goals-against average is 2.99.

Price has struggled even more against the Rangers, losing three of his last four starts. His goals-against average during those games was a staggering 3.99.


P.K Subban vs. Rick Nash

Although Carl Hagelin has been on fire for the Rangers recently, Rick Nash is still their go-to-guy.

Hagelin has five goals and two assists over the past four games but it’s the Blueshirts’ newly acquired star who leads the team in assists, points and shots on goal.

After some early struggles due to the lack of an off-season caused by the lockout, Nash is starting to feel at home in New York.

The Canadiens will be looking to put their biggest body, P.K Subban, on Nash to knock him out of his rhythm.

The defenseman just emerged from a contract dispute that ended with him signing a two-year deal worth $ 5.75 million.

The pressure is on him to start earning his salary and the first step could be knocking the Rangers offense off their pedestal.