MONTREAL – The New York Rangers are one win away from advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs as they defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime in game five. In what was terrific third period and overtime for the Rangers it was Mika Zibenajad who notched the game winning goal off the feed from Chris Kreider.
It was a pretty even start for both teams but it was the Habs who were able to open scoring twelve minutes into the opening period. The Rangers were able to even the score on a beautiful shorthanded goal by Jespser Fast who picked up his second goal of the playoffs. It was short lived as the Canadiens were able to pull ahead cashing in on the special teams as they picked up a power play goal from the pesky Brandon Gallagher.
Rick Nash, who, has been one of the Rangers best players set up the tying goal to feed defensemen Brady Skjei as he cut to the net and knot the score. It was a scoreless, yet nerve racking third period but neither team gave up much. The Rangers were the stronger team in the third period as they pushed the Habs back on their heels getting chance after chance but could not get the puck past Carey Price.
The overtime consisted of a tilted ice as the Rangers continued their push to grab another goal. There was under six minutes left and Zibenajad cutting to the net was able to get the puck in the net to secure the victory. The Rangers will now come home up 3 games to 2 with a chance to end the series Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
This was certainly the effort you wanted to see if you were the Rangers as they rolled over the stellar performance from game four. Players that we’ve questioned through much of the playoffs answered the bell tonight as they contributed in one way or another. Nash was spectacular yet again, Mats Zuccarello was noticeable and Kreider was active tonight as well. The one glaring fault was of course the power play yet again for the Blueshirts who are now 0- for-13. They had better chances and were able to move the puck and set it up but just could not get the goal on the special teams.
Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves, and stopped all 20 shots he faced from the start of the second period through the end of the contest, to earn his 58th career NHL playoff win in tonight’s contest. Lundqvist leads all active NHL goaltenders in career playoff appearances (121) and career playoff wins (58). In the Rangers’ 28 playoff wins since the start of the 2014 Playoffs, Lundqvist has posted a 1.28 GAA, a .957 SV%, and 2 SO.
Just like in 2014, the Rangers have the series lead heading back home and it is crucial they finish it on Saturday so they can avoid another trip back to Montreal for a potential game seven. This series has been exciting to want to see more but the Rangers and their fans will tell you they want it ended on Saturday. One would have to think this loss may have deflated the Habs balloon a bit as they looked as flat as ever in this series in the final two periods of the hockey game. The Garden needs to be electric and the Rangers need one more game of the same effort and they will be moving on.