Rangers projected playoff lineup versus Montreal

MSG

The Rangers and Canadiens are set to do battle in Montreal to open the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here’s what I expect Alain Vigneault to go with tomorrow night.

FORWARDS

via Cap Friendly

Personally, I would scratch Jesper Fast and insert Pavel Buchnevich. Yes, it would be unpopular to many (especially after NHL.com called Fast an X-factor for NY – sorry I don’t see it) but I think putting¬†a potential scoring threat like Buch on the 4th line would balance the lineup more.

Playing Tanner Glass in game one also makes the most sense. Of course the fancy stats skill crowd will disagree. Bottom line here is that the Canadiens changed the dynamic of their bottom 6 at the trade deadline. The additions of Steve Ott and Dwight King signal a different philosophy for the Habs to be more physical down low, protect Carey Price, and run the opposition defense and bump the goalie when possible.

Should the Canadiens find themselves down in the series heading into NY for game 3, then inserting a Buchnevich for Glass to finish them off makes a lot of sense. Like I wrote yesterday, Rangers success this season will be on how AV and the Rangers make lineup and in game adjustments in these playoffs.

AV has more options than ever before….he better use them wisely.

DEFENSE

There should be no shock here at all. These are the main 6 and the pairings we will see deployed. Where things will get interesting is how AV will make in game adjustments should any of these pairings falter. I am looking at Marc Staal and Nick Holden to be honest. Either AV moves Holden to the left and promotes Skjei or demotes that pairing to the 3rd unit, AV needs to make those in game adjustments work.

Also, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to give Dan Girardi a rest in the later rounds (if they can get there). That would mean Kevin Klein getting a turn with Skjei and bumping Smith to top pair.

GOALTENDER

Really? Henrik Lundqvist.

Seriously though, if Hank struggles AV has to make the right move and pull him early in favor of Raanta.

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