Historically, the New York Rangers have performed poorly in the city of Montreal. Whether playing at the Bell Centre or Montreal Forum, the Montreal Canadiens seem to have the Rangers’ number. After coming off a difficult loss to the New Jersey Devils the Rangers head to their personal house of horrors Saturday night. A win there is not only important for the sake of gaining two points in the standings but for the Rangers’ psyche.
The Rangers’ all-time record in Montreal is 76-221-42. In their last eight games at Bell Centre the Rangers are 0-8. Here are the results of the last four: 3-0, 3-0, 4-1, 4-0. You can do the math on that one. The last time they won in Montreal: March 17, 2009, 4-3 in a shootout.
The current Canadiens team has given the Rangers fits recently. They play a heavily aggressive defensive style bent on frustrating and wearing down opponents. You can even say they have beaten the Rangers at their own game. The keys to beating the Canadiens are sustaining a fore-check, avoiding penalties and simply outworking a fellow blue-collar club. The Rangers need to find a way to exorcise their past Montreal demons, especially in one of the loudest and most passionate atmospheres in the NHL.
Montreal is currently battling the Rangers for playoff positioning and may continue to do so for the rest of the season. Mentally for the Rangers, finally earning a win in Montreal is important should they have ambitions of going far this season. If, by chance, they face-off in the playoffs this season this mental block will be a major x-factor should the Rangers’ futility at Bell Centre continue.