2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Eastern Conference Finals – Game #6
Montreal Canadiens at New York Rangers
Rangers Lead Best Of Seven Series 3-2
Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Opening Line: New York -185 / Montreal +160
Current Line: New York -175 / Montreal +155
Opening Total: under 5 -110 / over 5 -110
Current Total: over 5 -115 / under 5 -105
The Montreal Canadiens were down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers heading into Tuesday night’s game five. The Canadiens staved off elimination with a wild 7-4 victory in Montreal and forced game six Thursday night in New York. The Rangers are looking to wrap up the series and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994, when they won the Cup last. A Canadiens win would force game seven Saturday night in Montreal.
New York won the first two games in Montreal 7-2 and 3-1. The teams split the two games in New York, with each team taking a 3-2 win in overtime, Montreal in game three and New York in game four.
Game five was a wild affair where each team scored 3 straight goals at least once. Montreal actually did it twice. Alex Galchenyuk opened the scoring for Montreal less than 2 minutes into the game on a power play goal. Derek Stepan tied it up for the Rangers midway through the first period. Stepan missed game four with a broken jaw suffered in game three. Tomas Plekanec gave Montreal a 2-1 lead about a minute and a half later.
In the second period Montreal expanded the lead to 3-1 on a goal from Max Pacioretty less than 4 minutes into the period. Rene Bourque made it 4-1 Montreal three minutes later. At that point Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault benched goalie Henrik Lundqvist in favor of back-up Cam Talbot in an attempt to motivate his team. It worked as the Rangers tied it up with three goals in about 4 minutes. Rick Nash, Stepan, and Chris Kreider (power play) scored the goals that tied it up with just under 6 minutes left in the second. Montreal would regain the lead less than a minute later on Bourque’s second goal of the night.
In the third, many thought Vigneault should have gone back to Lundqvist since the Rangers were back in the game. However, he stuck with Talbot. Bourque scored the hat trick six minutes into the third to give Montreal a 6-4 lead. David Desharnais added a shorthanded goal with less than 5 minutes left for Montreal to make it 7-4.
Andrei Markov recorded three assists for Montreal. Lars Eller and Dale Weise each recorded two assists for Montreal. Kreider had 3 assists along with the goal for New York. Ryan McDonagh had 2 assists for the Rangers.
Both teams were a combined 2 for 11 on the power play, with New York only converting 1 of 7 chances. Montreal had 28 shots and New York had 27. The Canadiens won 36 face-offs to 33 for the Rangers. Montreal goalie Dustin Tokarski made 23 saves. Lundqvist stopped 15 of 19 shots before being pulled. Talbot made 6 saves in 8 shots faced.
New York is coached by Alain Vigneault. The Rangers are 56-39-3-3 this season and the total was 30-41-11 during the regular season. Montreal is coached by Michel Therrien. The Canadiens are 56-34-5-3 this season and the total was 28-42-12 during the regular season.
Montreal is outscoring teams 3.19-2.81 in the playoffs. The Canadiens are averaging 30 shots per game and giving up 30.6 per game. The Canadiens are 12/59 on the power play (20.3%). Montreal is 78.7% on the penalty kill and has allowed 10 power play goals. The Canadiens have scored three short handed goals and allowed two this post-season. Montreal is 47.7% on face-offs.
Montreal goalie Carey Price had a GAA of 2.36 in the playoffs with a .919 save percentage before injuring his knee in game one of this series. Price is out for the playoffs. He has one shutout. Price has allowed 29 goals in 358 shots this post-season. Price was 8-4 in the playoffs. Peter Budaj played in the third period of game one after the Price injury but gave up 3 goals in 8 shots. Tokarski will continue to start, but Budaj could see some action if the young goalie struggles. Tokarski has a goal against average of 2.97 with a .902 save percentage. He has allowed 12 goals in 123 shots faced. Tokarski is 2-2 in the playoffs.
Defenseman P.K. Subban has 14 points for the Canadiens with 9 assists. Center Lars Eller has 13 points with 5 goals and 8 assists. Left wing Rene Bourque has 11 points with 8 goals. Right wing Brendan Gallagher has 11 points with 7 assists. LW Max Pacioretty has 11 points with 5 goals. LW Thomas Vanek has 10 points with 5 goals. Defenseman Andrei Markov has 10 points with 9 assists. Center Tomas Plekanec has 9 points with 5 assists. Left wing Brandon Prust returns from a two game suspension for game six. Defenseman Alexei Emelin is questionable for game six for undisclosed reasons.
In the playoffs, New York is outscoring teams 2.79-2.37. The Rangers are outshooting teams 29.2-28.5 in the playoffs. New York is 11 for 77 on the power play during the playoffs (14.3%). New York has allowed three short handed goals and scored one. The Rangers are at 85.5% on the penalty kill and have allowed 9 power play goals. New York is 47.8% on face-offs.
Lundqvist has a 2.15 goals against average in the playoffs with a save percentage of .926. He has allowed 39 goals and faced 525 shots. Lundqvist has an 11-7 record in the playoffs. Cam Talbot has a 2.59 GAA with a save percentage of .846. He has allowed 2 goals in 13 shots faced in two games in the playoffs.
Right wing Martin St. Louis has 13 points with 6 goals and 7 assists. Center Derek Stepan has 13 points with 8 assists. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh has 12 points with 9 assists. Right wing Mats Zuccarello has 11 points with 7 assists. Center Brad Richards has 5 goals and 6 assists. Left wing Carl Hagelin has 10 points with 6 goals. LW Rick Nash has 10 points with 7 assists. Left wing Chris Kreider has 10 points with 6 assists. Center Derick Brassard has 9 points with 5 goals in the playoffs. Left wing Benoit Pouilot has 8 points with 5 assists. LW Daniel Carcillo is suspended indefinitely for elbowing an official in game three. Defenseman John Moore is suspended for two games for a late hit in game five.
Montreal is 6-2 after scoring 5 goals or more in the previous game, 11-4 on one day rest, 18-8 against Eastern Conference teams, 11-5 in road games, 21-10 overall, 2-5 in conference finals games, and 1-4 after a win. The under is 8-2-4 in this series recently, including 2-0-3 in New York.
New York is 4-0 after the opponent scores 5 goals or more in the previous game, 4-1 on one day rest, 6-2 after allowing 5 goals or more in the previous game, against teams with winning records, overall and against Eastern Conference teams. The home team is 23-11 in this series recently.
Lundqvist struggled in game five, but he has been fantastic during the rest of the playoffs. I expect the future Hall of Famer to rebound after being benched in game five. I think the Rangers win a close game to end the series.
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