New York Rangers (45-31-6) at Montreal Canadiens (46-28-8)
|Date & Time||Saturday May 17, 2014, 1:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Montreal Canadiens -122 / New York Rangers +111 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Canadiens and Rangers square off on Saturday afternoon for game one of the Eastern Conference finals at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
The New York Rangers defied the odds and stormed back from a 3-1 deficit that included two victories on the road and a game seven that was dominated by Henrik Lundqvist against the Pittsburgh Penguins and will now play the Montreal Canadiens with a berth in Cup Finals on the line. New York was cast aside by many heading into these playoffs as they were light years behind the Pens in the Metro division and were in a matchup nightmare in the opening round against the Flyers but after a seven game thriller there the Blue Shirts pulled off the feat again this time on the road and sent Sidney Crosby and the gang packing and ultimately sealed the fate of general manager Ray Shero. New York rallied around the unfortunate death of Martin St. Louis’ mother in which the bereaving forward netted the game’s opening goal on Mother’s Day in a New York victory and while the circumstances were awful the team really responded and used it as motivation to keep their Cup aspirations intact.
The Canadiens are coming off a very impressive game seven victory of their own as they went into the TD Garden and left with a ton of confidence after knocking off the best team in the league during the regular season. Montreal played with a ton of resolve all the way through their series with their hated rivals and after a special effort in game six to force the deciding contest back in Boston the Habs played one of their best games of the season to claim the series and now have home ice advantage here against the Rangers. Carey Price has had a Conn Smythe type postseason and he was the difference maker in the series with Boston but now he will go toe to toe with Lundqvist who has been equally impressive and has been the MVP of his team throughout the first two rounds. This also marks the first time that the two goaltenders from the Olympic gold medal game will square off in the Conference finals as Price led the Canadians to gold while Lundqvist and the Swedes settled for silver and heading into this series the oddsmakers think we will see a similar fate. While I think New York can very much make a series of this thing especially if Rick Nash ever decides to show up I think this first contest will be a statement game for Montreal and with the way the Rangers and Lundqvist have played at the Bell Centre of late I think getting Montreal at this price is a gift.