Rangers Defeat Montreal in Game One
The New York Rangers rolled to their fourth consecutive playoff victory in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday afternoon by defeating the Montreal Canadiens. For 39 minutes it was a close and hard fought affair, then everything turned very quickly for the Rangers, in a good way, as indicated by the final score of 7-2.
The Rangers got off to an ideal start when Martin St. Louis scored just 4:35 into the first period. It wasn’t just a game one goal — it was the Rangers’ first goal in Montreal this season. The Broadway Blueshirts would raise their sticks again two minutes later after Matts Zuccarello crashed the net and sent in a puck that fell onto his stick. Derrick Brassard left early in the first period with apparent upper back/shoulder pain, and did not return, putting more pressure on his teammates, who finished the first period up 2-0, looking well in control.
However, the momentum swung hard in the second period as the Canadiens went after the Rangers with lots of energy, earning a goal off Henrik Lundqvist at the 12:38 mark. Well, earning may be too strong a word —the Canadiens had six guys on the ice at the time of the goal, and it was a bit of a fluky bounce off of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh that put it in net, but nonetheless, Montreal was back in it. Montreal continued their surge after the goal, but towards the end of the period the Rangers picked up their play, hitting a post on one shot. Then, with a minute to go, the speedy Chris Kreider took back a two-goal lead for the Rangers with a strong shot alone in front of the net.
From there on out, things would go downhill for Montreal. Brad Richards got a goal with just 12 seconds left, and all the air escaped from the Bell Centre as the second period ended with the Canadiens trailing 4-1. A scrappy, desperate Montreal team took six penalties in the third period, and the Rangers scored on three of them, including a five on three goal. McDonagh got vengeance for his own goal earlier in the game to make it 5-1, Derek Stepan made it 6-1, and then Rick Nash finally broke his scoreless playoff streak as he netted the 7th goal of the game for the Rangers. Montreal would go on to sneak in a second on a penalty kill with under five minutes left, but it was all but over by then. The Rangers notched another game one victory in these playoffs, and a very crucial road will.
The Rangers will go for a two games to none lead on Monday night when they are back at the Bell Centre for game two at 8:00 pm EST on NBCSN.