New York Rangers' Ryan McDonagh haunts the Habs

New York Rangers defenceman has been a force versus his old squad, the Montreal Canadiens, in the...

New York Rangers defenceman has been a force versus his old squad, the Montreal Canadiens, in the playoffs. (Getty Images/AFP)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:48 PM ET

MONTREAL - Former Canadien Ryan McDonagh was awarded the Broadway Hat after Mondays 3-1 Rangers win, symbolizing who the team feels is the player of the game.

If McDonagh really wanted to rub it into the faces of the Habs front-office suits, he could subsequently have paraded up and down Crescent St. all night with the coveted chapeau on his head, rubbing it in the faces of the loyal Canadiens fans at the local watering holes who were wondering what might have been.

After all, McDonagh, who has six points in the first two games of the Eastern Conference final, had his rights traded away by the Canadiens to the Rangers along with Christopher Higgins, Pavel Valentenko and Doug Janik for Scott Gomez, Tom Pyatt and Michael Busto on June 30, 2009.

But McDonagh, taken 12th overall in the 2007 NHL draft, prefers to look forward, not back.

At this point, the trades been talked about a lot, (but) Im really happy to be in New York and love what weve got going on here, McDonagh said. I think weve got something special.

When you get drafted, you think what it would be like then, but its been so long now that my heart and soul is with New York.

Much to the chagrin of Canadiens supporters.

OLDIES BUT GOODIES

Its been 10 long years since Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis smeared their fingerprints all over the battered beaker known as the Stanley Cup.

At that time, inside the dressing room, they were followers, mere kids looking to find their way through uncharted post-season waters. Now, a decade later, the young guys on the New York Rangers are following them.

When I was in Tampa, Marty also, we didnt really have a clue what we were doing, Richards said on Tuesday. We were first-time through it, we were leaning on other people, older people, asking them all the questions, which I think is a lot easier when youre younger.

Richards scored a playoff-record seven game-winning goals in 2004 for the Lightning, earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP.

I havent been back to a (Stanley Cup) final since 04, Richards said. I just try to hammer that stuff home. When you get in these situations, you give yourself three or four weeks of everything youve got, because it might not come back for a long time.

Thats the message he and St. Louis are trying to pass on to their Rangers teammates.

Now you know all the things that can happen, and its a lot harder, Richards said. But its fun to try to gather the group and talk about things.

This group has come together so much and they ask a lot of questions. They make fun of us a lot, too, for doing that, but its fun to try to help out that way.

ALL SIGNS POINT TO TOKARSKI

Will rookie Dustin Tokarski once again get the call between the pipes for Montreal in Game 3 on Thursday?

Habs coach Michel Therrien isnt saying at least not yet.

Meanwhile, Rangers bench boss Alain Vigneault says he knows.

I do, but Im not willing to share it with you, Vigneault said, wearing a wry grin.

All things being equal, expect Tokarski to make his second consecutive start. Therrien thought the kid played well in the 3-1 loss in Game 2 on Monday, adding that it was not Tokarskis fault that the Habs came out on the wrong end of the score.

There also are signs that Rangers forward Derick Brassard will return for Game 3, too, after suffering an unspecified injury in the opener.

Asked if Brassard will play, Vigneault playfully replied: If I was a betting man ...

He left it at that.

LOTS OF WOES FOR CANADIENS

The Canadiens reached the Eastern Conference final thanks to: (a) a hot defenceman in P.K. Subban; (b) a sizzling power play; and (c) outstanding goaltending.

Now they are down 2-0 to a Rangers team that is using that very same recipe to beat them.

1) Blue-liner Ryan McDonagh has been New Yorks offensive leader with six points in two games. Subban, meanwhile, has zero in this series.

2) New Yorks power play went 4-for-10 in its two victories in Montreal. The Habs are 0-for-7.

3) Henrik Lundqvist has been brilliant, stopping 60 of 63 shots. Carey Price, meanwhile, was knocked out of the series in Game 1 with a leg injury.

The Habs have other woes as well.

Thomas Vanek had zero shots in Game 2 and has registered one shot or less in six of his past seven games.

Forward Tomas Plekanec has just one point in his past six games and is minus-3 in this series.

And defenceman Andrei Markov has not scored in his past 16 games.

You get the picture.


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