When: Saturday, November 19, 7:00 p.m.
Opponent: @ Montreal (8-8-3)
UPDATE: Martin Biron will start for the Rangers. (12:02 p.m.)
EARLIER: 1974. That was the
last time the New York Rangers won eight games in a row.
The streak came just after Christmas, between
December 27, 1974 and January 11, 1975, so long ago that two of New York’s
opponents – the Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies – aren’t even in
existence anymore, as Andrew Gross points out.
To match that run, the Blueshirts will need to stay focused
on the task at hand and play a solid 60-minute game, especially in Montreal against
the Canadiens where New York has struggled in recent years.
“If we're going to have a chance against Montreal, we're
going to have to play better than we did against the Islanders," Coach
John Tortorella said on
The Canadiens got off to an awful 1-5-2 start, but Montreal
has picked up its play recently and now sit just two points behind the eighth
place Ottawa Senators.
The Rangers have already beaten Montreal once during their
win streak, but that was at Madison Square Garden in Sean Avery’s return. New York got off to a flying start in the
game, outshooting Montreal 16-3 during the first period and racing ahead to a
3-0 lead. The game also featured some
early fireworks after Canadiens’ defenseman Mike Blunden clobbered Brandon
Dubinsky with a clean check that led to a trio of fights.
But over the last three seasons the Blueshirts are just
1-4-1 in Montreal and Henrik Lundqvist admitted to Jim Cerny that the Bell
Centre can be a difficult place to play:
"Sometimes I think you can get drawn too much into the
atmosphere there," he said.
One way the Rangers could gain an edge would be if they
started producing on the power play.
Even in New York’s 5-3 victory over Montreal on November 5,
the Blueshirts went just one-for-nine on the man advantage.
The team has continued to struggle and has converted just
three of its last 27 power play chances.
It’s remarkable that the Rangers have been able to string together so
many victories without much success on the man advantage, but at some point
that will burn the Blueshirts.
Lundqvist and Martin Biron have ceded just 11 goals during
the win streak and although the Rangers have been scoring more lately, they
can’t continue to depend on their goalies to allow two or fewer goals per game.
New York has a chance to match history with a victory and if
the Blueshirts receive a little help, they could even find themselves sitting
atop the Eastern Conference by night’s end.
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