NHL playoffs capsule: Montreal vs. New York Rangers

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A look at the Eastern Conference finals: Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers.

Montreal vs. New York Rangers

Season series: Canadiens, 2-1.

Difference makers: Goalies Henrik Lundqvist of New York and Carey Price of Montreal are the main reasons their teams are playing for the conference championship, and whoever wins their head-to-head duel likely will be competing for the Stanley Cup in a few weeks. Two defensemen also are worth keeping an eye on. P.K. Subban of the Canadiens has, save for an occasional gaffe, been sensational in these playoffs; New York's Ryan McDonagh, who entered the league as a Montreal draft choice, finally started to get his game back in sync late in Round 2 against the Penguins after a Norris Trophy-caliber regular season.

Special teams: The Canadiens shredded Boston's penalty-killing for eight goals in 25 tries in Round 2, while limiting the Bruins to three goals in 18 chances with the extra man. New York's power play has scored just three times in its most recent 43 chances in the playoffs, but its penalty-killing has allowed only one goal in the past eight games.

Noteworthy: Precedent suggests this won't be a high-scoring series because these teams combined for just four goals in three regular-season meetings. ... This is the 15th playoff meeting between the Canadiens and Rangers; they split the first 14. ... Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty scored a goal in each of the final two games against Boston after getting just one in his previous 13 career playoff games. ... Rangers C Brad Richards has nine career game-winning goals in the playoffs, including one in Game 7 against the Penguins. ... Montreal C Daniel Briere ranks among the active league leaders in playoff scoring, with 52 goals and 63 assists in 118 games. ... New York's second-round victory against the Penguins marked just the fourth time in league history a team won a series in which it was shut out in consecutive games. ... Montreal is 7-0 in these playoffs when scoring first.

Who will win: Canadiens in seven.


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