National Hockey League
Preview
Montreal at NY Rangers
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 22, 2017
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

Madison Square Garden had been a postseason house of horrors for the New York Rangers until they ended a six-game playoff drought at home in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. Now, after following that up with a victory in Montreal on Thursday, New York has a chance to eliminate the Canadiens in Game 6 on Saturday night.

Mika Zibanejad's overtime goal in Game 5 gave the Rangers their second straight win and a 3-2 edge, putting them in position to close out the series in front of the home fans and avoid a deciding Game 7 in Montreal on Monday night. “Now we’re hoping we can bring a good amount of momentum back to New York,” Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said after Thursday's victory. The Canadiens took their first lead of the series with a dominating 3-1 win in Game 3 at Madison Square Garden but now need to repeat that effort to stay alive. "We're going to learn what type of character we have," Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher said. "If you don't have character, this is the time you're going to doubt yourself. If you do have character, this is the time where the belief is going to come out of our group."

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVAS

ABOUT THE CANADIENS: Captain Max Pacioretty scored a team-high 35 goals during the season but has been blanked in the series, including a stop of a third-period breakaway in Game 5. "In order to get through this, we'll need more from a lot of guys," coach Claude Julien said. "It's time for certain players to elevate their game and have that confidence and desire to be better. There's no doubt when you lose games and you're behind 3-2 you can't be satisfied as a team." Montreal's power play also is stuck in neutral, failing on all 14 chances.

ABOUT THE RANGERS: After a lackluster effort in Game 3 in which New York managed a series-low 21, coach Alain Vigneault traded sandpaper for skill by inserting rookie Pavel Buchnevich on a line with Chris Kreider and Zibanejad, which combined for the game-winner Thursday. The coach also shifted Michael Grabner to a line alongside Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast, who also tallied in Game 5. "There's speed, but you also have Jesper and Oscar who really compete hard for loose pucks and really battle hard," Vigneault noted. "It makes for a good mix."

OVERTIME

1. New York has won 14 straight playoff series in which it was victorious in Game 5.

2. Canadiens rookie F Artturi Lehkonen has two goals and an assist in the last three games.

3. Brady Skjei is the first Rangers rookie defenseman with two playoff goals since Brian Leetch (3) in 1989.

PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Canadiens 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Montreal 49-28-8-2 L2 25-13-5-1 24-15-3-1 2-3-0-1 47-25-8-1 19-5-5-1
NY Rangers 51-29-3-4 W2 22-17-0-4 29-12-3-0 6-2-0-0 45-27-3-4 15-13-1-1
Last Meeting
Montreal NY Rangers
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
4/20/17 NYR 3 (OT) MON 2 36 33 1-4 36 34 0-2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Montreal A. Lehkonen 2
NY Rangers M. Zibanejad 2
Goals Player  
Montreal B. Gallagher 1
NY Rangers J. Fast 1
Assists Player  
Montreal N. Beaulieu 1
NY Rangers C. Kreider 1
Saves Player  
Montreal C. Price 33
NY Rangers H. Lundqvist 34
Season
Total Points Player  
Montreal M. Pacioretty 70
NY Rangers M. Zuccarello 60
Goals Player  
Montreal M. Pacioretty 35
NY Rangers C. Kreider 31
Assists Player  
Montreal A. Radulov 44
NY Rangers M. Zuccarello 44
Saves Player  
Montreal C. Price 1831
NY Rangers H. Lundqvist 1714
Quickchart Matchup
Montreal Off vs  NY Rangers Def
2.68 GF
2.6 GA
30.3 Shots
30.4 Shots
48 PP
48 PK
NY Rangers Off vs  Montreal Def
3.03 GF
2.4 GA
29.8 Shots
29.7 Shots
47 PP
47 PK