The New York Rangers public relations department had an event yesterday when they had team alumni Rod Gilbert, Ron Duguay and Glenn Anderson unveil a sign in Herald Square.
Around the same time yesterday, the current Rangers were renaming the Bell Centre as well.
The 7-2 drubbing of the Canadiens was as dominate of a performance as you can ever expect. The Blueshirts stymied the Habs from the opening drop and never let up.
“It’s a pretty dangerous building,” said forward Martin St. Louis. “Once they start feeding off that, you can feel the energy, and we were able to just score a quick goal to make it 3-1, getting a two-goal lead, and obviously the fourth one is a big one to end the period to extend the lead. I thought we managed well in the third.”
But remember, this is only one game and the Rangers will face a very different Montreal team on Monday, one that will make adjustments to compensate from the speed differential that helped the Rangers get the upper hand.
Plus. expect them to keep their composure a little better. Brandon Prust’s outburst on Chris Kreider in the third, which resulted in a four minute minor and set up the last two Ranger goals will probably not happen in Game 2, neither will the seven power plays the Rangers enjoyed.
Simply put, the Canadiens were as much to blame for Game 1 as the Rangers should take credit for the win.
“Yeah, we were not ready mentally,” said Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. “Physically we were not ready to compete for a game like that and with the result that we saw.”
That’s not to take away from the Rangers win. The beauty of this game was that everyone contributed. The seven goals came from seven different players and the Rangers received contributions from all four lines.
Plus, the Rangers generally played a very clean game. The Canadiens had three power plays, but two of them came with less than 5 minutes to play when the game was decided. The will need to keep up with that discipline if they want to duplicate Game 1’s success.
Because this series is not over. Not by a long shot. The Rangers opening salvo will serve as a wakeup call for the Canadiens and tomorrow the Blueshirts will see a very different team.
“Our guys know we’re up against a really good team that have beaten the best team right now in the NHL,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “So we know we’ve got our hands full. Tonight in the second period the difference was our goaltender. He made some big saves. They were able to pull in from one and you could see that they were pushing. Then when you score a couple goals late in the period, you know, we just got a little bit fortunate there and took it home in the third.”
And if they endure tomorrow, then Montreal will really be Rangerstown.