MONTREAL – The New York Rangers opened up the first round of the playoffs with a gritty 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. It was a game in which is safe to say the Blueshirts stole on the road. Henrik Lundqvist was superb out of the gate as the Habs came out flying and firing on all cylinders.
It was yet another road win for the Rangers who led the league in road wins this season and they were able to take game one. It wasn’t an easy first period for the Rangers, but then again no period is ever easy in the playoffs. It took the Rangers much of the period to generate any offensive pressure that included some power play opportunities.
It was then Tanner Glass off the face-off on the back hand that got the Rangers on the board. Yes, you read and saw it live, Tanner Glass. The guy that everyone disagreed with of being in the line-up in the playoffs. The same Tanner Glass that came up from Hartford and created a spark for the team. The same Tanner Glass that brought a physical presence back to the Rangers.
The second period was the better period for the Rangers as they dominated play but couldn’t get the puck passed Carey Price. It was back and forth in period three before Michael Grabner picked up the empty-net goal to ice the game for the Rangers. This game lived up to the excitement of the playoffs and included nail biting moments and stellar saves by both goalies. It also was a physical game in which the Rangers did a great job matching the Habs in that department as well.
The Rangers have won six of their last seven playoff games against the Canadiens in Montreal, dating back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 1996. In addition, New York has won six of seven all-time playoff games at Bell Centre. The Blueshirts posted a shutout in the playoffs against Montreal on the road for the second time in franchise history and for the first time since Game 5 of the Semifinals in 1950.
The Rangers are tied for the NHL lead in playoff road wins since the start of the 2014 Playoffs (13). New York has earned at least one road win in 12 of its last 14 playoff series, dating back to the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2012 against Ottawa.
Game two takes place on Friday in Montreal and if the Rangers would like to take a 2-0 series lead they need to find a way to give themselves breathing room in these games. They will also need to score on the power play as they had chances including a 5-on-3 that did not register a shot. Have your oxygen tanks ready folks because if this series unfolds like it did here in game one we are in for a high anxiety, high blood pressure series.