Rangers Prevail In OT! Just One Win Away From The Finals

Carl Hagelin scores while shorthanded in Game 4 (Bello/Getty)

Carl Hagelin scores while shorthanded in Game 4 (Bello/Getty)

Don’t be fooled by the 3-1 series lead folks. The Rangers survived Game 4 vs. the Canadiens, prevailing 3-2 in OT.

With the win, the Rangers are one step closer to returning to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 20 years. They will try for the clincher Tuesday night in Montreal.

Despite a series of bad penalties, bad calls & the inability to put away prime scoring chances, the Rangers managed to come away with the victory. Carl Hagelin opened the scoring for the Blueshirts while New York was down a man. Off a beautiful feed from Brian Boyle – who played another all round solid game – Hagelin broke in alone on Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski and went 5-hole for the 1-0 Ranger lead.

The Canadiens would tie the game 8:08 into the second period when Francis Buillion potted a snap shot over Henrik Lundqvist shoulder. However, with :56 seconds left in the period Derrick Brassard – returning to action after missing the last 2 games – blasted a slapshot off a breakaway past Tokarski giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead going into the third.

However the Rangers were unable to continue their penalty killing excellence as PK Subban let one rip from the point past Henrik Lundqvist while Dominic Moore was in the box for tripping. That would turn out to be the last goal in regulation as both teams exchanged chances only to be denied by the brilliance of both Lundqvist & Tokarski as each of them matched the other save for save.

This game was eerily like Game 3 in that the Rangers clearly dominated play for much of the game yet Montreal kept hanging around as the Rangers were unable to increase their lead. Marty St. Louis was denied on a beautiful breakaway in front by Tokarski. Lundqvist robbed Brian Gionta in front with a left leg save in the second. Montreal had 3 powerplays in the first but were thwarted by the stifling Rangers penalty killing units.

Just like Game 3, this tilt went into OT tied at 2. The Rangers continued to make life difficult for themselves by taking a penalty in the overtime session as Benoit Pouliot was called for holding Subban’s stick at the 30 second mark. The Rangers were able to kill that off.

At 6:02 of the OT session, Marty St. Louis got redemption as he ripped a shot high glove side over Tokarski after getting a beautiful cross ice pass from Hagelin. Brad Richards had kept the play in the zone off a sloppy clearing attempt by the Habs. Hagelin picked up the loose puck and wheeled a no look pass to St. Louis for the game winner.

The Rangers will now jet off to Montreal in the hopes of closing out this series and gaining some much needed rest before advancing to the Finals. After being in a similar situation last series as Montreal is in now, the Rangers know all too well how a series can slip from ones grasp in the blink of an eye.

As Marty St. Louis said after the game when asked what he expects on Tuesday night he said “To close this out.” If the Rangers are to do so, they need to tighten things up and not take the offensive zone penalties they have been assessed over the last 2 games, continue their penalty killing brilliance, ride the brilliance of Henrik Lundqvist & put chances away when they get them. On to Montreal!!

Subban’s powerplay goal snapped an 0-14 drought for Montreal in this series. It also snapped a 27-27 streak the Rangers had going. They hadn’t allowed a PPG since Game 2 against Pittsburgh.

Derick Brassard returned to lineup after missing Games 2 7 3 with a suspected shoulder injury.

JT Miller was inserted into the lineup for the injured Derek Stepan. Miller was assessed a penalty early in the first for a crosscheck in front of the Montreal net. In the second period Miller appeared to injure his shoulder after being shoved into the goal. He did go to the locker room but came back to the bench for the third period. He did not get any ice time in the third or OT though.

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