Third-round preview: Habs-Rangers


Hands up those of you who had the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers meeting in the Eastern Conference finals? Sorry, your hands don't count, Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price. While many -- including us here at -- believed the playoff grid in the Eastern Conference heavily favored the deep, experienced Boston Bruins, the Canadiens had other ideas, winning two elimination games in a row, including Game 7 in a raucous TD Garden on Wednesday night by a 3-1 count to eliminate the Presidents' Trophy winners. The Rangers, meanwhile, had their own road magic going on in Game 7 in the second round, edging the favored Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 at Consol Energy Center to set up this Original Six matchup. The two have not met in the postseason since 1996, although this is Rangers' second trip to the Eastern Conference finals in the past three years (they lost to New Jersey in 2012); the Habs made a surprise run to the final four in 2010 before losing to the Philadelphia Flyers. Both teams boast lineups with lots of moxie, terrific goaltending and speed, which should bode well for fans who like lots of up-and-down to their hockey.

Spotlight On

Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist

They don't call him The King because he likes "Jailhouse Rock" or "Love Me Tender." No, they call Henrik Lundqvist The King because where he goes, the Rangers follow. In the past when his playoff performances have been up and down, the Rangers floundered. This year, and especially in the team's just-completed comeback win over the Penguins, Lundqvist was sensational. He was given early leads in the final three games of the series and he made them hold up, allowing just three goals on 105 shots. His victory in Game 7 on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh marked his fifth straight Game 7 victory and his second of this playoff year; the Rangers held off the Flyers in a Game 7 in the first round. The articulate Rangers netminder has never advanced beyond the conference finals. Two years ago, he was outdueled by longtime nemesis Martin Brodeur in the conference finals. He'll have another tough matchup on his hands in Carey Price, and he has admitted that he hasn't enjoyed playing in Montreal. In fact, he has played there sparingly in recent years. But right now, The King is indeed that.

Canadiens: P.K. Subban

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...