New York vs. Montreal Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 15th 2024

Even with a struggling power play, the New York Rangers are emerging from the All-Star break as a different team by showing an ability to win low-scoring games. New York is on its best run since the opening weeks and can match a season high by scoring a sixth straight win Thursday night when it hosts the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers are attempting to win six straight for the first time since Oct. 21 to Nov. 2. The first six-game winning streak was part of an 11-game points streak as New York finished an 18-4-1 start with a 6-5 win over the San Jose Sharks. Before starting their current winning streak with a 7-2 rout of the Ottawa Senators on Jan. 27, the Rangers were 11-12-2 in a stretch that included eight losses by at least three goals. Since the break, New York has scored 11 goals and won each time by two goals or fewer. After getting a 4-3 overtime win in Chicago on Friday, the Rangers kept the streak going with a 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames. The Rangers are slumping with a man advantage. Their power-play percentage has dropped to 25.6. Despite not scoring on the power play Monday, the Rangers did enough and enter Thursday with a six-point lead on the Carolina Hurricanes atop the Metropolitan Division.

Igor Shesterkin made 30 saves in his first shutout of the season, after Jonathan Quick started the previous three games, and the Rangers got goals from secondary forwards Will Cuylle and Jimmy Vesey. “There’s always these peaks and valleys inside the season,” New York coach Peter Laviolette said. “It could be with the power play or the penalty kill, or scoring late in the game or whatever it might be. It also goes with wins and losses, so it was nice to put a stop to (the inconsistency).” Laviolette attempted to get New York’s power play going again by reverting to Mika Zibanejad, Panarin, Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck and Adam Fox as the top power play unit after changing it Monday. “The guys that took us to (No. 1 in the NHL) are the ones that should be out there,” Laviolette told reporters after practice Wednesday. Montreal is attempting to get consecutive wins for the first time since Jan. 15-17 and for the seventh time this season. The Canadiens scored a season-high five goals for the sixth time when they cruised to a 5-0 rout of the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. The Canadiens earned their most lopsided win of the season by getting three-point performances from Nick Suzuki and Juraj Slafkovsky. Suzuki scored twice and had an assist, giving him seven goals and 14 points in an eight-game points streak.

Slafkovsky set up both Suzuki goals before scoring Montreal’s second power-play goal and has five goals and nine points during a modest six-game points streak. Cole Caufield also collected an assist and has six goals and 15 points over his past 13 games. “It’s encouraging, they’re finding consistency, it’s hard not to be excited about that,” Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said of the trio. “It’s fun to watch, not just the result, it’s how they’re playing together that’s exciting for me.”

–Field Level Media

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