The Runner Sports

Rangers Take Game 1 In Montreal

The New York Rangers came into tonight with a lot of questions surrounding their play. They came out with some answers and most importantly a victory. They showed toughness, killed penalties, Henrik Lundqvist looked rejuvenated, and they scored on Carey Price, although it came from the most unlikely of heroes. Now the Rangers own a 1-0 series lead, after escaping Game 1 with a 2-0 victory.

It was not the start the Rangers were looking for, to say the least. They looked shaky and timid, while the Canadiens came out flying, out shooting the Rangers 16-5. Yet, Lundqvist stood tall and kept the game scoreless. Then a quick, top shelf backhand off an offensive-zone faceoff from Tanner Glass, got the Rangers on the board. Much like the Rangers have done all season, they weathered the storm and took the crowd out of the game. The same Tanner Glass who was primarily in the lineup over Pavel Buchnevich for his physicality and edginess was the only one able to solve Carey Price on the night. Who would’ve thought?

The Rangers controlled play in the second period, but were unable to get another one past Price. They had some great chances, including a 5-on-3 for almost a minute but failed to capitalize. That led to a tight contested third period in which both teams had their chances but the Rangers prevailed. Michael Grabner capped the night off with an empty netter to make it 2-0.

The Blueshirts blueliners were steady all night. They were very successful in limiting the Habs’ entrances to the zone by standing up at the blueline. They also played physically, blocked shots, and shut down the Canadiens power play. Brendan Smith, playing his first playoff game as a Ranger played a really solid game, as did rookie Brady Skjei.

The only weak link on the night was Nick Holden. He did not look sharp defensively and had a tough time handling the puck. As he has been prone to do, he committed a bad defensive zone turnover, which nearly cost the Rangers. Late in the second period, with the Rangers playing well, Holden tried a stretch pass down the middle of the ice which was intercepted. What followed was a long offensive barrage by Montreal and an eventual delay of game penalty by J.T. Miller. Luckily, it did not cost the Rangers. Holden, who had a rough end to the season, is starting over Kevin Klein for offensive abilities as he plays on the power play. However, if he cannot be relied on defensively, he could see the bench in the near future.

It was a huge win and a great confidence booster for a group that has struggled to find its game in the past month. They showed they can play a different style of play that is essential for playoff success. Especially for Lundqvist to post a shutout, after all of his struggles this season and versus the Canadiens over the past few years is big going forward. Technically they only needed to win one on the road to have a chance in the series, but with their poor home play, it would be nice to get a few more going forward.

Game 2 is Friday night in Montreal at 7 pm ET.