FTHN Playoff Report: Rangers Crush Habs in Game 1 Stunner

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 20 of 22 shots to help the Rangers to a 1-0 Series Lead (NHL via Getty Images)

“Touchdown Rangers! .. The PAT is up and it’s good.” Wait, sorry wrong sport.

Martin St. Louis got the Rangers on the board 4:35 into the first period, and Henrik Lundqvist picked up his first win in Montreal since 2009.

Rangers 7 vs. Montreal 2 (Rangers lead Series 1-0)

It was an offensive onslaught for the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The Rangers got on the board early on, when Martin St. Louis scored the first goal of the series, then just 1:42 later Mats Zuccarello scored again to get the Rangers up 2-0, quieting arguably the NHL’s loudest arena.

It was a battle of periods, the Rangers dominated much of the first period but you had to figure, much like Game 1 against Pittsburgh, that the Canadiens were going to come out pressing in the 2nd. That they did, and they’d eventually get a goal off the stick of Rene Borque to bring them within 1. But the Rangers would eventually put the game away with goals 49 seconds apart right before the end of the 2nd period by Chris Kreider and then Brad Richards to go into the 3rd up by 3.

The Rangers would add 3 Power-Play goals in the final period by Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash (yes you read that correctly). The Habs would get a shorthanded goal late in the 3rd by Lars Eller.

FTHN Key Play of the Game

The Key Play(s) of the Game came in the middle/end of the second period. First, it was a save by Henrik Lundqvist on Canadiens D-Man, PK Subban from right in the slot. Lundqvist stopped the initial shot from Subban and then used his glove to bat the glove out of harms way keeping the score 2-0 at that point.

The other play of the game was done by the New York Rangers penalty killers. At 15:53, Brian Boyle took a holding penalty on PK Subban putting the Habs deadly Powerplay to work with a chance to even the score, but Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers PK Corps shut the Canadiens down.

11 Rangers tallied at least 1 point in the Game as well.

FTHN Player of the Game

Ryan McDonagh.

Everyone knows about the trade that sent Ryan McDonagh from Montreal to New York. That trade seems to motivate him every time he plays the Habs. Today McDonagh recorded 1 goal and 3 assists for a 4 point game. The first time a Rangers D-Man has had a 4 point game in the playoffs since Brian Leetch did it in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. Right from the opening face-off McDonagh was alert and flying. Much deserving of #1 Star honors.

Injury News

Although the Rangers got the victory today by a large margin they may be without one of their best players, Derick Brassard, who was hit in the 1st period and never returned to the game. He has been called “day to day” by head coach, Alain Vigneault.

Carey Price for the Habs also had an apparent knee injury in the 2nd period when he and Chris Kreider collided as Kreider lost his balance and went barreling into Price. Price was holding his right knee but stayed in to finish off the 2nd period. He didn’t come out for the start of the 3rd, as back up, Peter Budaj finished the game. Montreal’s coach, Michel Therrein said it was to give him a rest.

Game 2 Preview

Michel Therrien made it quite clear during and after the game that he was upset with his teams performance.

Coming off their emotional Game 7 Victory over their bitter rival the Boston Bruins, the Canadiens came out and totally dropped a stinker on home ice in Game 1 against the Rangers.

You’ve got to give credit to the New York Rangers who came out early and kept the crowd, for the most part, out of the game. Which is a huge factor for the Canadiens considering they’re considered to have one of the best crowds in the NHL. I’d expect nothing less from the Rangers again in Game 2. The Canadiens didn’t look like they we’re prepared for the Rangers speed, and even when they had a chance to understand it, they couldn’t keep up with it.

The Habs are a team that has played against 2 teams who are more physical then they are, but used their speed to their advantage in winning both of those series. If they want to make this series a challenge for the New York Rangers they’re going to have to figure out a way to minimize the Rangers speed game and hope that theirs comes alive.

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