The New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden to tie the first round match up at two games a piece in the opening round. It was a full sixty minute effort from the Blueshirts that help capture the victory.
Jesper Fast made most of a turnover and was able to slip the puck under the legs of Carey Price to get the Rangers on the board and got the Garden rocking. There was certainly more energy from the crowd at the worlds most famous arena. Although it was a stronger start for the Rangers, things got sloppy near the end of the opening frame, as a bad change left Henrik Lundqvist out to dry and the Habs evened the score at 1.
The second period was almost a replica of that of game one when the Rangers tilted the ice and generated more chances and kept the Canadiens in their own zone for much of the period. One of the stand out players in the game, Rick Nash was able to put home a feed from captain Ryan McDonagh that ended up being the game winner.
A different third period from the Rangers proved to be the difference as instead of sitting back on a lead they continued to push for a third goal. Although it didn’t happen, the Rangers were able to keep Montreal in check and shut them down in the final twenty to even the series.
Head coach Alain Vigneault praised his teams effort by saying, “We knew we had to respond as a group and that’s what this group did tonight. We’ve proved it in the past. We talked about managing the puck better. I thought we managed the puck better tonight. We played a better game. We were able to give ourselves an opportunity. It’s a two out of three (series). That’s what we wanted.”
The game hero and Broadway hat recipient Nash was asked about the character of the team and went on to say, “We came back after a tough loss. It was a bad couple of days around here. We let it all go and put it behind us, and I thought we had a pretty good performance tonight.”
The Rangers will now set their sights on Montreal as the series shifts back to the Bell Centre in Thursday night and the Rangers will certainly have to bring the same game, with minor adjustments in order to take a series lead and out the Habs on the brink.