The Rangers are in Montreal tonight to face the Canadiens for the final time this season. Luckily, this will be the last time the Rangers play Montreal, as for some reason they just can’t beat them. They’ve lost both games against the Habs this year, losing by scores of 3-1 and 3-0, with the blanking coming in Montreal. The Rangers haven’t won there in recent memory (64-199-40-2 overall).
Under Michel Therrien, the Canadiens have switched to a 1-2-2 forecheck, but do use a 2-1-2 style infrequently based on the score and puck location. In the defensive zone, the Canadiens overload the boards first, then collapse low based on puck location. It’s actually very interesting, as Therrien said they overload because of their team size (note: small), and they use their speed to their advantage to outnumber the opponent on the wall and force turnovers. This is a style that has given the Rangers trouble all year.
The Canadiens also work an umbrella powerplay, and a hybrid diamond/box penalty kill depending on what type of power play they’re defending against. Typically you box against and overload and diamond or wedge+1 against an umbrella.
Suit’s note: As you will notice, Gaborik will start the game on the 4th line. Tortorella is likely doing this to get Gabby away from the top defensive units. This should (theoretically) give him more space to bury those chances. But he has to get his legs moving if it’s going to work.
For more on Tortorella’s systems read here.
2012-2013 Records: Canadiens (21-7-5), Rangers (16-14-3)
NYR Leading Scorer: Rick Nash (12-16-28)
MTL Leading Scorer: Max Pacioretty (9-16-25)
Rangers Lines (unconfirmed):
Broadcast Info: MSG, 7pm
Torts’ post-game interview from Thursday: