Rangers Explode In Montreal, Exorcise All Demons!

What does relief look like? See Rick Nash in the center. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)

What does relief look like? See Rick Nash in the center. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)

The New York Rangers continue to dominate on the road and in the process, exorcise their own demons. 

The Bell Centre has been a den of horrors for Henrik Lundqvist, who hasn’t won there since 2009. Today, he must have rubbed Cam Talbot’s helmet, which is painted all Ghostbusters. Whatever he did, it worked and the Rangers gave him the goal support to get it done.

Game 1 Box Score (NHL.com)

Game 1 Box Score (NHL.com)

Martin St. Louis, playing in his hometown opened the scoring off a beautiful feed from Dominic Moore.  Quickly, Mats Zuccarello made it 2-0 less then 2 minutes later. The Rangers bang-bang goal scoring would happen again late in the second. Up 2-1, Chris Kreider and Brad Richards scored less then a minute apart.

The second period was Montreal’s push and it was Henrik Lundqvist who stood tall. His goaltending took the steam out of the Canadiens late, allowing for the Rangers to blow it open.

Carey Price, who looked like he tweaked his right knee earlier in the second was pulled. The move was more of a desperation play by Michel Therrein to spark his gassed Habs team. Instead, the Canadiens took more penalties and 3 power play goals followed.

Ryan McDonagh, who played the finest game of his post-season life, notched a goal to make it 5-1. He would finish with 4 points (1G-3A). The bang bang offense then scored 25 seconds apart as Stepan converted a 5 on 3 opportunity. NY closed out their scoring with a Rick Nash goal.

That’s right. Stop rubbing your eyes or wiping the smudges off your screen. Rick Nash has scored a goal and he called it “an exhale moment”. Nash played a great game, as he was physical throughout and made the key pass on Chris Kreider’s back breaking goal.

Earlier today, I wrote about the 5 story lines for game 1 and the series. Let’s revisit:

  • Will Henrik’s regular season struggles in Montreal carry over?
    – The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT!
  • Will Montreal have a game 1 letdown after an emotional game 7 vs. Boston?
    – The answer is yes. They simply were not ready for the Rangers speed.
  • Will Marty St. Louis carry the team offensively in his hometown?
    He opened the scoring with authority and finished with 1G and 1A.
  • Will the Rangers be able to contain PK Subban and Vanek?
    In game 1 yes. It’s a long series so we will see.
  • Will Rick Nash finally cash in on all those chances?
    Yes! The monkey is off his back, that’s all that matters. Now build on it.

The news isn’t all good, as Derick Brassard was lost early in the 1st period. Alain Vigneault has already called him “day-to-day”. If everyone recalls, Brassard left a practice early in the 1st round with back spasms. It is possible the injury could be the same. After the game, Brassard said “I hope to play on Monday.” If Brassard practices, he will play. However, enough credit can’t be given to Dominic Moore who stepped up in his absence with 2 assists. Should, Brassard not be able to go, expect Daniel Carcillo to take his place.

So, the Rangers have drawn first blood in a BIG way. More importantly, Lundqvist and Nash have exorcised their inner demons. That is huge for game 1, but even bigger for this series. Game 2 will be Monday in Montreal at 8PM.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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