by Patrick Hoffman on 03/18/11 at 10:52 AM ET
There is nothing like an Original Six mtachup in hockey. There is the history between the two teams, a sense of rivalry, a game of importance and much more.
That will be no different tonight when the New York Rangers take on the Montreal Canadiens tonight at Madison Square Garden in what is a big game for both clubs. The Blueshirts are still seventh in the Eastern Conference with 78 points, just two points up on the eighth place Buffalo Sabres while the Canadiens currently hold down the sixth spot in the conference and are now just three points behind the Northeast Division leading Boston Bruins.
The Rangers have dropped their three previous meetings to the Canadiens so tonight will be important for the Blueshirts to beat the Canadiens. The Rangers come into this game having won four of their last five and having won two straight games on home ice.
The team is obviously playing with a lot of confidence now. They are putting the puck in the net, blocking shots, throwing the body, getting solid goaltending and playing a winning style of hockey.
With that said, tonight’s game against the Canadiens will be a huge test for the Rangers. The Canadiens have a terrific power play and a goaltender in Carey Price who may not only find himself nominated for the Vezina Trophy at the end of the season as the league’s best goalie, but also a Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP.
This is a team that the Rangers will need to respect by not taking too many penalties and throwing lots of pucks on net whether it is Price or backup netminder Alex Auld in between the pipes. The Rangers will also need to continue to have success on the power play because come playoff time, the importance of special teams play means even more.
It’s a big Friday night hockey game in New York. What could be better than that on this sunny and mild day?
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.