Staten Island, N.Y. - It has been nearly 4 years since the New York Rangers have won in Montreal. March 2009 was the last time they walked out of the Bell Centre with one more in the Win column. So Saturday evening, the Rangers will look to get rid of the hex and pick up a win.
Alain Vigneault knows of the Rangers struggles in Montreal and his idea to change those struggles? Insert new players into the lineup. With the Rangers playing back to back nights (tonight in Montreal & tomorrow at home against LA) it was expected we’d get to see Cam Talbot in at least one game. AV had his mind made up earlier in the week, and let us know recently that tonight would be the night that we get to see Talbot. Talbot has been almost stellar in all of his appearances for the Rangers this year. Maybe he can change the Rangers luck in Montreal. Another player the Rangers will be looking to help them change their ways is veteran Center, Dominic Moore. Moore, a one time Canadien, has missed 7 straight games due to injury but is set to return to the lineup tonight. Lastly, Justin Falk will look to earn a more solid role in the lineup when he comes in for healthy scratch Michael Del Zotto. Although it seems, Falk is only in the lineup tonight because of Vigneaults displeasure with Del Zottos play lately.
After a nice 4 day rest, the Rangers start a grueling 9 games in 15 nights stretch. No games in the NHL come easy, but the recently hot Rangers have their work cut out for them. 94-66-15 is the combined record of the teams they’ll be facing in the coming 9 games. All but 2 of those teams are above .500. One of the positives the blueshirts have to look forward too, is that superstar forward, Rick Nash plans to return to the ice next Tuesday against Boston or Thursday against Dallas. He wore a contact jersey in practice yesterday for the first time since he’s been back skating and barring no set backs we’ll pencil him in to the lineup sometime next week.
As fellow writer, Anthony DeCicco pointed out the key tonight for the Rangers is positivity. An original 6 match-up is enough to overwhelm a normal person. Stepping foot on historic ice in Montreal as a visiting player is enough in itself. Cam Talbot only has 4 career games in the NHL but maybe his start for the Rangers tonight give them that “clean slate” AV preached throughout training camp. Talbot can be the fresh start in Montreal that the Rangers need.
Montreal is playing their second of back to backs, coming off an exciting come from behind win in the shootout against the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. Peter Budaj got the start last night, so Carey Price will get the start tonight for the Habs. They will also be getting back their rugged, ex-Ranger forward Brandon Prust. Who has become quite the fan favorite in Montreal just like he did in New York so look for him to give the home crowd something to cheer about. Especially playing against his former team.
With Montreal coming off a game 24 hours ago, look for the Rangers on 4 days rest, to come out fast. Recently, they’ve done that and its resulted in them being 7-3 in their last 10 games and climbing back to .500 for the first time since October 7th. Lets hope they can escape the hex and start this next stretch on the right foot, the winning foot!
Lets Go Rangers!
-Patrick Serao (@serao_11)