Watch Canadiens vs. Rangers, game 1 of the 2014 NHL Eastern Conference championship streaming online live this afternoon by clicking on the link at the bottom of this series preview. The Rangers vs. Canadiens series – or, as the Montreal Canadiens’ Facebook page refers to it, the “Rouge, Bleu et Blanc vs Red, White and Blue” series – promises an exciting Original 6 matchup that hasn’t been seen in the playoffs for more than 20 years.
Like many Stanley Cup playoff series, this one is likely to be decided based on which goaltender gets hot. If it does, the odds favor the Montreal Canadiens. That isn’t to say that the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist isn’t capable of coming up big when the game – or series – is on the line, at all. However, when Lundqvist and Montreal’s Carey Price have met this year, Price has usually walked away victorious. The Habs were 2-1 against the Rangers this year, and Carey also helped Team Canada defeat Team Sweden – with Lundqvist in goal – at the Sochi Olympics this year.
A Yahoo! Sports report quotes Lundqvist saying this about the net minder he’ll be facing throughout the Rangers vs. Canadiens series:
“You go against a guy like that (Price)… you know you’re going to have to match his play or try to be better. It’s going to be a challenge, but I look forward to that. I always like a challenge.”
Lundqvist certainly rose to the challenge in the Rangers vs. Penguins series, stopping 102 out of 105 shots in the last three games of the series for an insane.971 save percentage.
Carey Price’s numbers in the Canadiens vs. Bruins series are just as impressive. Price had a.950 save percentage and a 1.50 goals against average in the last four games of the series against Boston. More importantly, he’s had stellar numbers against New York this season, stopping 74 out of 75 shots for a.987 save percentage.
Of course, both teams are quick to point out that none of that matters going into today’s game 1 of the Canadiens vs. Rangers Eastern Conference Finals. What matters is who can win four games first in the best-of-seven series that starts today. So, who’s the favorite going into the Rangers vs. Canadiens series? You have to love Montreal coach Michel Therrien’s answer:
“The favorite? That’s a media game. You go in the New York paper, and they’re the favorite. You go in the Montreal paper, we’re the favorite. I’m not paying too much attention to those things. My only focus is to make sure today that we met with our players, and it’s about tomorrow. This is our philosophy. This is not going to change. We understand that we need a really, really good hockey team. There’s a four-point difference between us and them, so they’re a good hockey team.”
Don’t miss a single shot, check or save in tonight’s Rangers vs. Canadiens game. You can watch game 1 of the Canadiens vs. Rangers Eastern Conference Finals streaming online live here.