(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)
After a remarkable comeback against the Pittsburgh Penguins, down 3 to 1, the New York Rangers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, playing against the Montreal Canadiens, New York is up 2 games to none. The Rangers have won 5 straight playoff games, and remain positive about the future.
Montreal fell short during game 1, losing to New York 7 – 2. The Rangers fired shots on goal and got past Carey Price. Unfortunately for Montreal, a collision with Rangers Chris Kreider and Carey Price will cost Price the remainder of the series. Controversy is swirling around Kreider’s collision to Price, especially among the Canadiens’ coaching staff. They are speculating the hit may have been intentional.
Within the first 5 minutes of play, Dominic Moore slid the puck to Marty St. Louis to score on a wide open net. Two minutes later, Derek Stepan failed to stuff it past Price, but Mats Zuccarello delivered on the rebound and lifted it into the net.
In the second period, Montreal scored against the Rangers. A quick pass by Brian Gionta, the puck went past an unsuspecting Henrik Lundqvist, credited to Rene Bourque. Bell Centre got back into the game, hopeful for more pucks in the net.
With a minute to go in the second period, New York responded right back to Montreal. Chris Kreider came up the middle and scored, making it 3-1. With just 12 seconds remaining, Brad Richards received a pass from behind the net from Zuccarello and then scored, making the game 4-1.
During the third period, 3 more Rangers goals were scored. Ryan McDonagh got a tally, then Derek Stepan on a 5-on-3 power play, and the last Rangers goal was scored by Rick Nash, also on a power play.
Montreal Canadiens’ Lars Eller scored a second, cosmetic goal at the end of the third period, making the final 7-2.
Game 2 at Bell Centre proved no more hopeful for the Canadiens, as they fell again to the Rangers, 3-1. The Canadiens called up a new goaltender, 24-year-old rookie, Dustin Tokarski. Playing in game 2 was his first ever playoff game.
Montreal put pressure on New York early in the game, scoring first. Mats Zuccarello had trouble with the puck close to his own goalie, and Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty was able to score. A bouncing puck went past Henrik Lundqvist.
Later in the first period, Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash scored to take the lead.
In the second period, the only goal scored was by Marty St. Louis on the power play, extending the lead to 3-1 Rangers. No goals were scored in the third period. Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 40 shots.
“We are trying right now to inspire each other, and personally for me it’s a lot of fun to be out there, it’s exciting, it’s pressure, but it’s a chance to grab on to an opportunity,” Lundqvist said after the game. “My goal here is to leave it all out there. In the end will it be enough? We’ll see. But you don’t want to sit at the end of the year and feel like you had more to give.”
The Rangers will be looking for their sixth straight win, and will come back to Madison Square Garden in New York City on the 22nd of May at 8 pm.
Remaining games of the series:
Game 4 – 25. May at 8 pm NYC
*Game 5 – 27. May at 8 pm MTL
*Game 6 – 29. May at 8 pm NYC
*Game 7 – 31. May at 8 pm MTL