Recap: Montreal vs. NY Rangers

The Sports NetworkMay 17, 2014 

Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers opened the Eastern Conference finals with a loud statement, getting goals from seven different players in a 7-2 trouncing of the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 from the Bell Centre.

Ryan McDonagh led New York's scoring blitz with a goal and three assists, with Mats Zuccarello tallying once and adding two helpers to help make Henrik Lundqvist's first win in Montreal since 2009 a rather effortless one.

Even the previously slumping Rick Nash got into the act for the Rangers, potting his first goal of these playoffs while also contributing an assist.

Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis finished with a goal and an assist as well. Lundqvist, 0-3-1 with a 4.63 goals against average in his last four starts at Bell Centre, needed to make just 20 saves to end his recent struggles at the venue.

Carey Price's afternoon wasn't as effective, as Montreal's standout goaltender was pulled after two periods after saving only 16-of-20 attempts. The Rangers then scored three times on eight chances against backup Peter Budaj in the third.

Lars Eller had a goal and an assist in the loss, the Canadiens' most lopsided one since an 8-2 setback to Carolina in Game 6 of the 2002 East semifinals.

Rene Bourque also scored for a Montreal squad that will attempt to bounce back when it hosts Game 2 on Monday.

Price entered the matchup with the superior head-to-head numbers between the star netminders, having stopped 74-of-75 shots in two wins over New York during the regular season and pitching a shutout opposite Lundqvist in leading Canada to victory in the gold medal game of the Sochi Olympics.

He was beaten twice within a span of under two minutes in the first period, however, as the Rangers raced out to a quick lead they never relinquished.

Fourth-line center Dominic Moore, pressed into an increased role after Derick Brassard exited early from a hard hit from Montreal defenseman Mike Weaver, set up the first goal with a nifty backhand pass across the crease that St. Louis tapped in from the left slot 4:35 after the initial faceoff.

Moore had a hand in New York's second score as well, sending a behind-the-net feed that McDonagh dropped back to Zuccarello for a successful stuffer under Price's right pad.

Outshot by a 12-6 margin for the opening period, the Canadiens came out with increased energy in the second and were briefly rewarded for their efforts.

Bourque got Montreal on the board with 7:22 left in the middle session, firing a quick wrister off a Brian Gionta give that bounced off Lundqvist's right arm and in to trim the Habs' deficit to 2-1.

The Canadiens received a power play on a Brian Boyle holding call just over three minutes later, but failed to get a shot on goal before giving New York the momentum back during the late stages of the second.

Kreider blew past Montreal blueliner Alexei Emelin while taking in Nash's pass on a transition rush, then rifled a shot that solved Price on the stick side just 1:01 prior to the second intermission.

New York struck again before the break. Brad Richards forced a turnover in the neutral zone before depositing a give from Zuccarello into an open left side with 11.6 seconds to go in the period.

The game then got completely out of hand early in the third period, with the Rangers unleashing three power-play goals on a defenseless Budaj within the first 4:36 of the frame.

McDonagh made it a 5-1 lead with a rising one-timer over Budaj's left shoulder and Stepan and Nash scored 25 seconds apart on an extended man-advantage situation created by a pair of Montreal penalties, including a double-minor to Brandon Prust that resulted in a game misconduct.

Nash entered the matchup without a goal despite recording a league-high 54 shots over the Blueshirts' previous 14 games in this postseason.

Eller produced Montreal's lone third-period highlight with 4:36 remaining, ripping a short-handed attempt into the upper right corner of the Rangers' net while fighting off a defender.

Game Notes

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service