Missing left wing Daniel Carcillo to a 10-game suspension and likely for the rest of the playoffs, and center Derek Stepan recovering from surgery to his broken jaw, the New York Rangers will try to reclaim control of the Eastern Conference Finals in Game Four against the Montreal Canadiens Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.
Carcillo was suspended by the NHL for physically abusing a referee during New York’s Game Three 3-2 overtime loss, and unless the team reaches Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals he’s played his last game until next year.
Stepan took a nasty, high hit from Montreal right wing Brandon Prust in the first period of Game Three, and he’s listed as day-to-day while Prust was suspended for the next two games after referees missed the interference penalty. Stepan up until this point has never missed a game in his four-year career, and is tied for second on the Rangers with 11 points this postseason.
Up 2-1 in the series after missing the opportunity to go up 3-0, the Rangers will of course miss Stepan’s production as he’s unlikely to play in Game Four, but center Derek Brussard is expected to return after missing the last two games following a big hit from Canadiens defenseman Mike Weaver.
New York may move Dominic Moore up in place of Stepan on the first line with Rick Nash and Chris Kreider. The left wing Nash caught the ire of fans throughout the Rangers regular season, but he scored his first two postseason goals on Montreal’s Carey Price and also netted an assist in Game One.
The Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien will have to patch up his fourth line with Prust out for the next two games, with more pressure on Danny Briere and Dale Weise.
Still, Montreal can revel in their Game Three victory, especially in how they managed to break past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Giving up three or more goals for only the fourth time this postseason, Lundqvist totaled 22 saves off 25 attempts for an .880 save percentage, his lowest in the last six games.
Start Time: Sunday, 8 p.m. EST
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network
Live Online Stream Info: A live online stream is available at NBC Live Extra here
Betting Odds: NY -1.5
Over/Under: 5 goals
Prediction: Montreal over NY, 2-1