Montreal 1 NY Rangers 3 (Madison Square Gardens)
posted by Rocket
Coach John Tortorella's game plan was to have the Rangers use an aggressive forecheck to create turnovers and get shots to the net. I would say "mission accomplished" and give his team a gold star.
The Rangers came out hard. They pressured the Canadiens in their zone at every turn. The Habs weathered the storm in the first and played a decent road period. They were clearing their own zone easier than they did against Ottawa the previous night.
The strong Ranger forechecking led to the first goal. Mike Komisarek was double teamed by Ryan Callahan and Chris Drury forcing him to give up the puck. Drury took a quick shot that found the net.
Just after the expiration of a Canadiens' power-play, Mathieu Dandenault scored to tie the game. The Habs' best line was Metropolit, Higgins, and Dandenault.
Tomas Plekanec seemed to have some chemistry with Matt D'Agostini. Plekanec's line, with Andrei Kostistyn and D'Agostini, had some good scoring chances. D'Agostini rang a shot off the crossbar in the third. Plekanec led the team with five hits.
The Rangers dominated the second period and scored twice. Shots in the period were 15-to-4 for the Rangers.
The Rangers cleared the puck in and Price went behind the net to play it. As Price waited for the puck to clear the no-go trapezoid, Josh Gorges skated in on top of him leaving Price without a pass. As Price tried to clear the the puck, it pinballed off Gorges' skates right in front of the goal. Nik Antropov dove to poke it in for the Rangers second goal.
The Rangers scored later in the period on a nice feed from Markus Naslund to Drury who had an easy tip in. Tanguay was back and covering Drury but failed to tie him up to prevent the goal.
Price made some brilliant saves especially in the second and third periods. Shots on goal were 34 to 14 for the Rangers in the final two periods. Price made a great glove save on Zherdev. Price made a diving stop as Antropov tied a wraparound early in the third. Price was also effective in controlling rebounds.
The power play was ineffective, going 0-for-3. Tonight, the power-play gave up shorthanded chances. Price had to make a blocker save on a 2-on-1. Without Andrei Markov or Mathieu Schneider, Gainey really has do to something different on the power-play front.
It was a quiet night from the Koivu and Lapierre lines. Lapierre has to keep from getting distracted by players like Sean Avery.
In an interesting statistic, Komisarek and Gorges were on the ice for all four goals in the game.
Komisarek had an up and down game. He had a huge hit on Avery and saved a goal by blocking a shot. But Komisarek committed giveaways that led to goals.
Gorges is a great Cinderella story this season but tonight, he played like Cinderella. Gorges is a competent fifth or sixth defenseman, but he is just not capable of playing effectively on the top defense pairing.
Patrice Brisebois seemed to be targeted by New York and was constantly being hammered into the boards.
Ryan O'Byrne and Doug Janik played a simple and physical game and were a solid defensive tandem.
New York dominated this game. Shots on goal were 44-to-25 for the Rangers. Price-haters will find some way to pin this game on him: Even RDS' Joel Bouchard said that this loss was not his fault.
The Canadiens need to find a way to create their own forecheck pressure and play a better transition game. In two games without Andrei Markov, they have only scored three goals total. They also need help from their power play that has looked anemic over the past two games.
Starting lineup: Lapierre, Kostopoulos, Latendresse, Brisebois, Hamrlik
Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist started in goal.
Stewart and Laraques were scratched from the lineup. Sergei Kostitsyn, Markov, and Schneider were out with injuries. Bouillon and Lang are on injured reserve.
Rocket's three stars:
1. Chris Drury
2. Ryan Callahan
3. Chris Higgins
(photo credit: Getty Images)