Jueves, 21 Marcha, 2019

Rangers Even Up First-Round Playoff Series with Canadiens

J.T. Miller WATCH: Rangers goalie Lundqvist chases Canadiens' Pacioretty away from net to protect 1-goal lead
Montrelle Montesinos | 21 Abril, 2017, 16:37

San Jose got a momentum-changing power-play goal from its second unit to start a Game 1 comeback, then came up empty on all six chances with the man advantage in Game 2.

From the opening face-off, the Rangers served notice that they would not surrender easily.

"We look forward to playing in front of our own fans", Lundqvist said to the New York Daily News.

The Post's Cyngalis also did a sidebar on how Rangers rookie Pavel Buchnevich gave the Blueshirts a big lift in his playoff debut.

When there was uproar about the Canadiens' offence being shutout in Game 1, only one seeing-eye Tanner Glass backhand separated them from NY. They had some chances, none better than first-period breakaways for Torrey Mitchell and Andrew Shaw, but they fell woefully short.

The home team had a 2-1 lead in Game 4 of the teams' first-round National Hockey League playoff series, and losing was not an option for the Rangers to stay in realistic contention to advance.

It was the first power-play goal of the series. We played a better game. The puck went in the net on the play but the goal was immediately waved off and Nash was assessed a two-minute minor for goalie interference, thereby nullifying the NY power play. NY is 0-for-12 in the series.

Radulov put the game away with 4:25 remaining with a brilliant individual effort.

The Rangers sure needed this first-round series to do so, because another loss at home on Tuesday would put them in a 3-1 hole going back to Montreal for Thursday's Game 5.

Nash broke a 1-1 tie 4:28 into the second period with his second of the playoffs and his 14th in 69 career Stanley Cup playoff games. The Canadiens ended up with a 29-21 edge in shots and the Rangers had 21 giveaways in the loss. Nash tucked the puck through Price's legs for the go-ahead goal. NY outshot Montreal, 32-24. Lundqvist lost his stick for a second time about five minutes later, but the puck was cleared out of danger.

"Certainly we could be better", Ryan McDonagh said.

Going into the match up, chemistry was a decided question mark, as the four lines Vigneault placed on the game sheet had spent less time together at 5v5 combined (325 min) than the Montreal first line of Max Pacioretty-Phillip Danault-Alexander Radulov (442 min). They were scoring what felt like a dozen goals per game. "That's still tough. They've still got a lot of players over there, and the way they throw pucks at the net, it's challenging". There were twenty-seven turnovers in the game, the strong majority of which were committed by the Canadiens. The Rangers made two lineup changes. Jimmy Vesey made a lovely rush the other way and forced Price to make a superlative toe save to keep the deficit to one goal.

The Rangers still led the Canadiens in hits in Game 4.

"We had some looks but in the end it was more about finish", said head coach Claude Julien.

While the goal itself was well deserved, it should have never counted after the replay showed that the Canadiens had six players on the ice.

But the home side just couldn't find the back of the net. Austrian Michael Grabner equalized for the Rangers. NY prevailed on this night 2-1. "We couldn't be going back to Montreal down 3-1".

It took 37:37 spanning the first and second periods to beat either goaltender. After this sequence, the Canadiens were able to create a flurry of scoring chances.

Stats: 30 saves on 32 shots, 2.00 GAA, .938 SV%. Mitchell moved the puck to Weber, who passed back to Mitchell for the tap-in goal that made it 1-1. Weber also very almost tied the game with just over a minute left. If you haven't been watching this series, start now.

"At this time, our best line is our fourth line", Vigneault said. As always, Gallagher was not outworked by the opposition. Rather, when hitting or taking hits, his priority was to make plays.