Habs ready for must-win game against Rangers

NEW YORK — One by one, Claude Julien and some of his Montreal Canadiens players stood in front of a semicircle of microphones and recorders and reiterated versions of the same mantra.

The opportunity to play in an elimination game is exciting — even if it is the Canadiens who face the uncomfortable reality that their season is one loss away from ending.

The Canadiens trail the New York Rangers 3-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final with Game 6 Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. After taking a 2-1 series lead following last Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Rangers, Montreal has dropped the last two games.

“You shouldn’t worry about the outcome,” Julien said Friday. “The outcome will come from playing the right way.”

There has been a general lack of production from Shea Weber, Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk over the course of the series. Weber has one goal and two assists for three points, Galchenyuk has two assists and Pacioretty has one helper.

The trio is generating offensive chances — Weber has eight shot attempts in the two losses in Games 4 and 5, Pacioretty has seven shots on goal and an additional 16 attempts, and Galchenyuk has three shots on goal and four other attempted shots. They’re just not finishing.

“It’s not from having a lack of opportunities,” Julien said about Pacioretty. “At some point in the playoffs you realize some of your top guns are going to be checked a little closer. We talked about (Edmonton Oilers centre Connor) McDavid — who’s a young player —and (Vladimir) Tarasenko in St. Louis. Max is not the only guy who hasn’t scored yet. If he’s getting chances it means he’s doing something well.

“Probably an easy target (for criticism) right now but certainly as you all know he’s supported by his teammates and coaching staff, so that’s not an issue.”

Julien reiterated those sentiments in talking about Galchenyuk.

“I think in Alex’s case he is one of those guys you do not see much and then he takes one shot that (turns) things around. So there’s no doubt he’s capable of more and hopefully that will come up.”

The Canadiens have 10 goals in the first five games. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is a big reason for that.

Entering Saturday’s game, Lundqvist has a .944 save percentage and 1.82 goals-against average. Montreal’s Carey Price has a .936 save percentage and 1.82 GAA, but the New York goalie has faced 21 more shots (178-157) than his Canadiens counterpart.

“He’s a motivated guy regardless,” defenceman Marc Staal said of Lundqvist. “He wants to win.

“His motivation is to try and win a playoff series and win each game. I don’t think it really matters who he’s playing against.”

Just Posted

WATCH: From humble beginnings Red Deer-based wrestling promotion is growing

It wasn’t that long ago that Dylon Featherstone and the Canadian Wrestling… Continue reading

WATCH: Families make yo-yos and weaved yarn at Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery

It was all about making yo-yos and yarn bombing at Red Deer… Continue reading

Solve mysteries with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in Red Deer

At three sold-out one act Sherlock Holmes plays in Red Deer, theatre… Continue reading

Quebec man arrested in slaying of Alberta woman 16 years ago

AIRDRIE, Alta. — A Quebec man has been arrested in the slaying… Continue reading

Construction underway at Medicine River Wildlife Centre in Red Deer

The new building is twice the size of the old one

WATCH Replay Red Deer Feb. 18: Your weekly news highlights

Watch news from Red Deer and Central Alberta

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Liberals looking at creating use-it-or-lose-it leave for fathers, Trudeau says

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is raising the idea of creating… Continue reading

Trump gets angry about election meddling, but not at Russia

‘Weirdest thing’: Trump expresses anger, but not over Russian election-meddling

New doping charge could hurt Russia’s chance at reinstatement

Russia could lose its chance to be reinstated before the end of the Winter Olympics because of a doping charge against curling bronze medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky.

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Virtue and Moir break their own world record

Virtue and Moir break short dance record to sit first in ice dance at Olympics

Calgary man dies in Mexico following sudden illness

Troy Black was with his wife, Lindsay, in Puerto Vallarta when he began vomiting blood on Thursday

Life or death main decision for school shooting suspect

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The evidence against the Florida school shooting suspect… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month