The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs have been an excellent showcase of what hockey is all about, and NHL fans all across the world are looking to the TV schedule to witness the remainder of the action in the conference finals.
After a wild game on Sunday and a surprisingly one-sided start to the Eastern Conference Final, Tuesday’s battle between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens could be the final game in the series.
With Montreal trailing New York 3-1, Tuesday’s Game 5 will be must-watch television.
Here is the full TV schedule for the conference finals and a focus on the Rangers vs. Canadiens.
|2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals|
|1||Rangers beat Canadiens, 7-2||May 17||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|2||Rangers beat Canadiens, 3-1||May 19||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|3||Canadiens beat Rangers, 3-2||May 22||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|4||Rangers beat Canadiens, 3-2||May 25||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|5||New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens||May 27||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|6*||Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers||May 29||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|7*||New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens||May 31||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|1||Blackhawks beat Kings, 3-1||May 18||3 p.m.||NBC|
|2||Kings beat Blackhawks, 6-2||May 21||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|3||Kings beat Blackhawks, 4-3||May 24||8 p.m.||NBC|
|4||Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings||May 26||9 p.m.||NBCSN|
|5||Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks||May 28||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|6*||Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings||May 30||9 p.m.||NBCSN|
|7*||Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks||June 1||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Source: NHL.com. *if necessary|
Breaking Down Tuesday’s Matchup
While there is no denying how exciting the Western Conference Final has been, the Eastern Conference Final could be over if the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
New York took the commanding 3-1 series lead with a huge overtime victory on Sunday. Montreal had a hold on the game after the team tied the matchup in the third period, but Martin St. Louis scored the game-winning goal just over six minutes into the OT period.
Despite struggling through the first two rounds, St. Louis snapped out of his funk and has racked up seven points in his last five games.
When asked about the success of St. Louis, New York team leader Brad Richards told Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com about his success despite dealing with personal issues off the ice:
Mentally, it's been impressive to go through what he's gone through, but it's also a getaway for him. He's using it and he knows there will be a time to settle down and grieve, but he's doing this on good emotions from his mom and he obviously wants big things for that situation. He's just riding it.
ESPN’s stats department talked about just how impressive the overtime goal was for St. Louis:
New York looks poised to be victorious in this series, but Montreal deserves immense credit for continuing to fight despite the injury to goaltender Carey Price. Canadiens backup Dustin Tokarski has been impressive, but the problem isn’t in net.
Montreal must get scoring from its top forwards.
The biggest issue for the Canadiens is that high-priced stars like Thomas Vanek, Daniel Briere and Brian Gionta have a combined 18 points this postseason. For three players who should be dominating the scoreboard, it is defender P.K. Subban leading the team with 13 points.
Beating a goaltender like Henrik Lundqvist is a tall order, but if Montreal wants to stay alive in the postseason, the team must make a concerted effort to get pucks on net. At some point, a deflected shot or juicy rebound will find its way into the goal and give the Canadiens confidence.
If Montreal’s top scorers find a rhythm, this series will be far from over.
Predicted Game 5 Results: Montreal wins 4-2
*Stats via NHL.com.