2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Eastern Conference Finals
New York Rangers vs Montreal Canadiens
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: Canadiens -113 / Rangers +107 (odds courtesy of Bookmaker)
Game #1, Saturday, May 17, 2014, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Bell Center – Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Opening Line: Montreal -130 / New York +110
Current Line: Montreal -125 / New York +105
Opening Total: under 5 -110 / over 5 -110
Current Total: under 5 -140 / over 5 +120
Two original six franchises meet in the Eastern Conference Finals as the New York Rangers take on the Montreal Canadiens. This is the 15th meeting in the playoffs between the two teams, but the first since 1996. The playoff series is tied 7-7 between the Canadiens and Rangers. This is the eighth time the teams have met in the Conference Finals. The winner will face the Western Conference Champion, either the Chicago Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings for the Stanley Cup. Montreal hasn’t been to the Stanley Cup Final since they won their 24th and last Cup in 1993. New York hasn’t been to the Final since they won the Cup a year later in 1994.
New York finished second in the Metropolitan Division with 96 points. The Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games in the first round of the playoffs. New York was down 3-1 in the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, the Rangers won 3 straight games to take the series including 2-1 in game seven Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. It was the first time the Rangers came back from a 3-1 series deficit in franchise history. New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist won an NHL record 5th straight game seven, and is 10-2 in his career in elimination games.
Montreal finished third in the Atlantic Division with 100 points. The Canadiens were the only team from Canada to qualify for the playoffs this season. Montreal swept the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 in the first round. The Canadiens then beat the rival Boston Bruins in seven games in the second round, despite being down 3-2 in the series. Montreal won game seven in Boston 3-1 Wednesday night. Boston had the best record in the league during the regular season.
Montreal won the two of the three meetings against New York this season. The Canadiens won 2-0 in New York October 28 and in Montreal April 12 1-0 in overtime to close out the regular season. The Rangers won 1-0 in Montreal November 16.
New York is coached by Alain Vigneault. The Rangers are 53-37-3-3 this season and the total was 30-41-11 during the regular season. Montreal is coached by Michel Therrien. The Canadiens are 54-31-5-3 this season and the total was 28-42-12 during the regular season.
In the playoffs, New York is outscoring teams 2.43-2.14. The Rangers are 13th of the 16 playoff teams in scoring but are first in goals against. The Rangers are outshooting teams 28.9-28.4 in the playoffs. New York is 6 for 55 on the power play during the playoffs (10.9%). New York has allowed one short handed goal. The Rangers are at 82.9% on the penalty kill and has allowed 7 power play goals. New York is 46.3% on face-offs.
Lundqvist has a 1.99 goals against average in the playoffs with a save percentage of .931. He has allowed 27 goals and faced 389 shots. During the last three games against Pittsburgh, Lundqvist made 102 of 105 saves to allow New York to come back and win the series.
New York center Brad Richards has 9 points in the post season with 4 goals and 5 assists. Right wing Martin St. Louis, left wing Benoit Pouliot, and RW Mats Zuccarello all have 8 points with 5 assists. Left wing Carl Hagelin and center Derick Brassard both have 7 points with 4 goals. Center Derek Stepan has 6 points with 4 assists. Defensemen Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman both have 5 points along with LW Rick Nash. Nash has yet to score a goal in the playoffs.
Montreal is outscoring teams 3.27-2.36 in the playoffs. The Canadiens are first in goals scored and fourth in goals allowed. Montreal is averaging 30.5 shots per game and giving up 30.8 per game. The Canadiens are 10/38 on the power play (26.3%). Montreal is 80% on the penalty kill and has allowed 5 power play goals. The Canadiens have scored and allowed one short handed goal each this post-season. Montreal is 47.4% on face-offs.
Montreal goalie Carey Price has a GAA of 2.15 in the playoffs with a .926 save percentage. He has one shutout. Price has allowed 25 goals in 338 shots this post-season. Price was the starting goalie for Canada’s gold medal winning hockey team in the Sochi Olympics and beat Lundqvist’s Sweden team in the championship game.
Defenseman P.K. Subban has 12 points for the Canadiens with 8 assists. Center Lars Eller and RW Brendan Gallagher both have 9 points with 5 assists. LW Thomas Vanek has 8 points and leads the Canadiens with 5 goals. LW Max Pacioretty and C Tomas Plekanec each have 7 points with 4 assists. Center Daniel Briere has 6 points with 4 assists. Four players have 5 points. Center Alex Galchenyuk is questionable with a knee injury, but hasn’t played in the playoffs so far.
New York is 4-1 on 3 or more days rest, 6-2 after scoring 2 goals or less in the previous game, 16-6 after the opponent allows 2 goals or less in the previous game, 27-13 in road games, and 1-4 in conference finals games. The under is 7-0-2 in this series recently, 6-0-2 in Montreal between the teams.
Montreal is 5-1 at home, 8-2 after the opponent allows 2 goals or less in the previous game, 4-1 on two days rest, 10-3 after allowing 2 goals or less in the previous game, 9-3 against teams with winning records, 6-2 after a win, 20-7 against Eastern Conference teams, 19-7 overall, 5-2 after the opponent scores 2 goals or less in the previous game, and in Saturday games, and 1-4 in conference finals games. The home team is 21-8 in this series recently. The Canadiens have beaten the Rangers 5 of the last 6 times they have played and are 9-1 in Montreal recently against New York.
Lundqvist has been nearly unbeatable especially in the last 3 games. Price has been pretty hot as well. This should be a low scoring game. I like the Canadiens to win game one, but I think the Rangers win the series in seven games.
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