A knockout right out of the gate, as the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 7-2 on the road, taking a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Seven different players scored for the winners and goalie Henriq Lindqvist ended the talks about a cruse for him in the Bell Centre with an impressive effort that included 20 saves.
Both teams were coming off series with seven games; the Rangers advanced against the Penguins who simply couldn’t finish off the series while the Canadiens came out of a brutal one against the Bruins. It seemed that the Rangers left anything that might have been bothering them for some stretches against the Pens behind them, while the Canadiens looked spent and flat, possibly needing some sort of pick me up which they didn’t find.
Martin St. Louis scored after 4:35 in the game and the Canadiens were barely able to wrap their heads around what was happening before it was a 2-0 lead, with the second goal coming from Mats Zuccarello. Rene Bourque put the Habs back in it midway through the second period, but his goal simply sparked a five-goal run from the Rangers, including three on a Power Play, to make Lars Eller’s goal in the third period irrelevant.
No one thinks of the Rangers as an high-powered offense type of team. With Martin St. Louis soon to be attending his mother’s funeral, emotions were running high for the player and for his teammates, but that actually seemed to focus them more on the difficult task they were faced with. His mother passed away before game 5 in the series against the Penguins. The Rangers came back from 3-1 down, and since have won four consecutive games.
The dominance of the win was surprising considering the Rangers have scored only four goals on their previous nine visits to Montreal. Lundqvist hadn’t played in Montreal since allowing four goals on Jan. 15, 2012. His last win there was March 17, 2009. Carey Price, on the other end, didn’t complete the game, taken off before the third period for Peter Budaj. Price made 16 saves but allowed four goals, and things were much worse with Budaj trying to keep pucks from going in. There’s no word on whether or not there is some sort of injury at play here.
There were a few firsts for the Rangers in the win – scoring seven goals for the first time in a playoff game since 1997 (7-0 over Atlanta) and to find a road game with 7 goals for them we go back to 1995, since an 8-3 win at Quebec on May 8, 1995. It was Montreal’s worst playoff defeat since losing 8-2 to Carolina in 2002.