Routinely applauded throughout the majority of his decorated professional and international career, Carey Price found himself on the receiving end of jeers and Bronx cheers in his last outing at the Bell Centre. The former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner hopes to hear a better response from the Montreal Canadiens’ faithful on Saturday when the club concludes its three-game homestand versus the New York Rangers.
“It’s been done before and it will be done again. For me, I just got to focus on my job,” Price told the Montreal Gazette following Thursday’s 4-0 setback versus the Los Angeles Kings. While the sputtering Canadiens have dropped eight of nine (1-7-1) and been shut out twice already this season, the Rangers have answered a disastrous 1-5-2 start with victories in two of their last three games. The line of Michael Grabner-Boo Nieves-Pavel Buchnevich registered seven points (four goals, three assists) in Thursday’s 5-2 win over Arizona, with at least one member of the contingent scoring one of the team’s final four goals in the contest. Buchnevich recorded his first career multi-goal performance to increase his point total to four (three goals, one assist) in the past five games.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHL Network, MSG (New York), Sportsnet One, CITY, TVA (Montreal)
ABOUT THE RANGERS (3-6-2): Mika Zibanejad scored a goal in New York’s 2-0 win over Montreal at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 8 and notched his team high-tying eighth point (six goals, two assists) on Thursday to remain even with Mats Zuccarello and J.T. Miller. As for the 30-year-old Norwegian, Zuccarello recorded his team high-leading sixth assist this season versus the Coyotes and has set up three goals in his last five regular-season games against the Canadiens. Ondrej Pavelec is expected to get the start versus Montreal, against which he is 2-0-0 with a 1.92 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in his last three appearances.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (2-7-1): Defenseman Victor Mete was informed on Friday that his stay in Montreal has been extended. “(General manager) Marc Bergevin told me that I could find a place,” the 19-year-old Toronto native told reporters. “My mother is definitely going to be living with me for my first year.” Mete has been paired with veteran workhorse defenseman Shea Weber for the preseason and the first 10 games this season, sporting a pair of assists and a minus-8 rating this season.
1. New York’s Alain Vigneault (617 wins), who coached with Montreal from 1997-2001, will move past Jacques Lemaire for sole possession of 13th place on the NHL’s all-time list with his next victory.
2. Canadiens RW Brendan Gallagher shares the team lead in goals (three) with Weber this season, but has been limited to just one assist in his last nine career encounters with the Rangers.
3. New York is just 1-for-14 on the power play in its last four games while Montreal collected five goals with the man-advantage in its previous five contests before going 0-for-5 on Thursday.
PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Canadiens 2