Post-game notes courtesy of the NYR:
Game 1: Rangers 7, Canadiens 2.
– The Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 7-2, today in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Bell Centre. The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0. – The Blueshirts have a 9-6 record in the playoffs, including a 5-3 record on the road. – New York tallied seven goals in a playoff game for the first time since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 17, 2007 vs. Atlanta (7-0 victory). The last time the Blueshirts recorded at least seven goals in a playoff game on the road was Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on May 8, 1995 at Quebec (8-3 victory).
Player notes:– Henrik Lundqvist made 20 saves to record his ninth win of the playoffs, and his 39th career win in postseason play. The Rangers goaltender improved to 9-6 in the playoffs this year, including a 5-3 mark on the road. Lundqvist has won each of his last four games, posting a 1.25 GAA and a .961 SV% over the span. The Rangers goaltender has allowed two goals or fewer in 12 out of 15 contests in the playoffs this year, including eight of the last nine games. Lundqvist is three wins shy of passing Mike Richter for first on the Rangers’ all-time playoff wins list. Lundqvist leads the NHL in wins (nine), is tied for second in GAA (1.99), and ranks second in SV% (.929) in the playoffs. – Ryan McDonagh tallied a power play goal, added three assists, and posted a plus-two rating in a team-high, 24:01 of ice time. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, McDonagh is the first Rangers defenseman to record four points in a playoff game since Brian Leetch tallied four in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals on June 7, 1994 at Vancouver. McDonagh’s three assists and four points are both single-game playoff career-highs. The Rangers defenseman has tallied seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last five playoff games. McDonagh is tied for the team lead in power play goals (two) and power play points (four), and is tied for fourth on the team in assists (five) in the playoffs. McDonagh leads all defensemen on the team in goals (two) and points (seven), and is tied for first among defensemen on the team in assists (five) in the playoffs. – Mats Zuccarello registered a goal, added two assists, and posted a plus-two rating in 15:26 of ice time. The Rangers forward has posted two three-point efforts in his last four games, and has recorded seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last seven games. Zuccarello leads the team in assists (seven) and points (11), is tied for second on the team in goals (four), and ranks second on the team in plus/minus rating (plus-seven) in the playoffs. – Chris Kreider recorded the game-winning goal, added an assist, and tied for the game-high with four hits in 16:25 of ice time. The Rangers forward has tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in his last four games. Four of Kreider’s eight career playoff goals have been game-winning tallies. – Derek Stepan tallied a power play goal, added an assist, and recorded two shots on goal in 19:51 of ice time. The Rangers forward has a three-game assist/point streak (one goal, three assists over the span). Stepan is tied for the team lead in power play goals (two) and power play points (four), and is tied for fourth on the team in assists (five) and points (eight) in the playoffs. – Dominic Moore recorded two assists and posted a plus-two rating in 16:36 of ice time. Moore tied single-game playoff career-highs in assists (two) and points (two) in the contest. The Rangers forward has now tallied two assists in a playoff game twice in his career (May 4, 2011 vs. Washington as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning) and two points in a playoff game on five occasions, including twice in this year’s playoffs (Game 5 vs. Philadelphia on Apr. 27). Moore has recorded three points (three assists) in his last two games. – Martin St. Louis tallied the game’s first goal, added an assist, and recorded two shots on goal in 20:57 of ice time. The Rangers forward has a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists over the span). St. Louis is tied for second on the team in goals (four), assists (six), and points (10) in the playoffs this year. – Rick Nash recorded a power play goal, added an assist, and recorded two shots on goal in 16:20 of ice time. The Rangers forward is tied for second on the team in assists (six). Nash leads the team and the NHL in shots on goal (54) in the playoffs. – Brad Richards registered a goal and recorded four shots on goal in 18:37 of ice time. The Rangers forward has tallied goals in consecutive games, and has registered three points (two goals, one assist) in his last four games. Richards leads the team in goals (five), is tied for second on the team in points (10), and is tied for fourth on the team in assists (five) in the playoffs. Richards ranks second on the team and second in the NHL in shots on goal (51) in the playoffs. – Kevin Klein registered an assist, posted a plus-one rating, and was credited with four blocked shots in 14:26 of ice time. Klein has recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in his last four games. The Rangers defenseman leads the team and is tied for first in the NHL in plus/minus rating (plus-eight) in the playoffs. – Marc Staal tallied an assist and recorded two blocked shots in 18:05 of ice time. Staal ranks fifth on the team in plus/minus rating (plus-five) in the playoffs. – John Moore recorded an assist, posted a plus-one rating, and blocked three shots in 17:51 of ice time. The Rangers defenseman is tied for sixth on the team in plus/minus rating (plus-three) in the playoffs. – Dan Girardi posted a plus-two rating and was credited with a game-high, five blocked shots in 21:37 of ice time. The Rangers defenseman skated in his 79th career playoff game, tying Rod Gilbert for fifth on the team’s all-time playoff games played list. Girardi is tied for first in the NHL in blocked shots (40) in the playoffs.
Post-game quotes courtesy of the NHL and ASAP Sports:
An interview with:
MARTIN ST. LOUIS
Q. Real quickly, do you have an update on Derick Brassard?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Day to day.
Q. We’ve spent a lot in the past week just asking you about this building and how difficult of an atmosphere it is to play in. Do you feel like your team did a good job of embracing it and attacking the opportunity?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I think what our guys said was this is a fun building to play in in the sense that it’s got history. Fans are passionate and they’re loud. That’s what we’ve got today. Maybe the fact that in Canada hockey is Saturday night, not Saturday afternoon. Maybe we caught them at a moment there where they weren’t used to it and unable able to jump on that a little bit.
Q. What can you say about Marty St. Louis with tomorrow and coming out and scoring the first goal to kind of get you guys going?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Obviously, emotionally for us that is something really strong right now. I know quite a few of our guys yesterday went to the wake, and I texted with Marty last night to make sure that everything was good. He got to the hotel I think just a little bit before midnight. It’s been very emotional for our whole group, and he’s handled it in an incredible way that probably has helped our team come closer together. Tomorrow is going to be a tough day for our group. We need to be there to support him, and we’ll do that tomorrow and get ready for Monday.
Q. Coach, a win like this when it’s a lopsided score it can be easier to get carried away. But in the second period we’re looking at it and perhaps they had some push back and what to do to not let that happen. Is that a good sign for you?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Our guys know we’re up against a really good team that have beaten the best team right now in the NHL. 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.
Q. Talking about emotions with Marty, you’ve got a guy in Dominic Moore who is playing with a lot of emotion too and filled in a big role tonight. What’s he meant for you?
COACH VIGNEAULT: He did an unbelievable job. To lose Brass right away on his second shift put our rotation and our lines out of whack a little bit. He stepped in and there is another player on our team that we all know his story. He’s handled his personal situation and his professional situation in a great way.
Q. Did you have a problem with the hit on Brassard?
COACH VIGNEAULT: I didn’t see it. I didn’t look at the replay. I haven’t checked it yet.
Q. Henrik, would you describe the way this roller coaster of emotions attached to Marty St. Louis. You went to his mother’s viewing yesterday. How did it go from yesterday to today’s game?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: It’s been a week of emotions, I think. Playing in the playoffs is so intense; you try to perform at a high level. At the same time a teammate trying to go through a rough time, so you try to be there as a support, and it makes you think a lot about a lot of things, not only hockey.
So you go back and forth. Pay attention to your game and what you need to do, and obviously, other things are important in your life. But I think we as a group in dealing with it the right way, we come together and work for one another, and you could see that in the Pittsburgh series. Game 5, 6 and 7, we played really well as a team, and we were on the same page. I think tonight we started the game really well. We set the tone the way we were playing and played just a smart game.
I think the first two periods it is a tight game, and they definitely had a few chances in the second, but that last couple minutes of the second period really put us in a good position. So in the third you can’t really put too much thought into it. It’s just one win, so I’m really happy the way we started though.
Q. Henrik, it’s just one win, but for you personally to get a win here, I know was a big story. You didn’t want to talk about coming into the Bell Centre for the series, but to get the win here, what does that personally do for you?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: I’m going to be honest with you, I felt good coming into the game. Yeah, you guys like to talk about it, you like to ask me about it. I haven’t played here in a while, but it’s still the same game. Last time I played here, we had a different team, and I think I’ve grown as a goalie as well. But every time you play the game you have to show yourself and your teammates that you can play.
So, yeah, we got a great start here and a good win. But it’s about doing it again in the next one. But obviously, we haven’t won that many games in this building, so it’s good to get a great start and know that when we pay attention to all the details, that we can get the result we want.
Q. Can you talk about, or can you describe the defensive structure, the way you guys were blocking shots and weathering the storm, and the saves you made in the second there on Pacioretty and Subban, what you were seeing there?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: I think they play a lot like Pittsburgh. They have a lot of speed, and if you lose the puck in the wrong area, they come in. And they have some really quick forwards, so you have to be smart with the puck. There were a couple of plays where we got caught and they created a couple of chances. But overall we played a really smart game, and it didn’t allow them to get the game going. The biggest part of their game is the transition game. So when you can take that away from them, you have a lot or a bigger chance of winning the game, I think, because sometimes it feels that team is so fast, and it all depends if you’re getting pucks deep or not.
Q. I know it’s in the past now, but you did mention that the Rangers had a lot of trouble coming in over the past few years. Was that at all discussed or mentioned or dismissed in the preparations for this game?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Well, A.V. brought it up. But you also have to realize they’re a good team at home. They have had a lot of success against a lot of teams, not only us. Sometimes you feel like you’re the only one, but they do play a confident game here. When they get the building going, and they have a lot of speed and finesse, I guess, when they play.
But we talked about going into the series and let’s not overthink anything. Go out and play our game, believe in what we’re doing, believe in our system, and I think the last four games the system has been the key for us. Tight games, and we just need to pay attention to all the details that we talked about going into the game.
Q. When he did address it, that’s how he addressed it?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: He addressed it the last time we played here too. I think the last couple of times he brought it up. Almost made a joke of it. It’s still the same game. But, yeah, there are a lot of things they don’t change when you come in and play the game. It’s a mindset, and I think our mindset was really good going into this one.
Q. How about how well you guys play on the road? 25 wins during the regular season, but you guys do play well on the road. It seems there is no change in the game.
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Yeah, I think back to the system. It took us a while to get going, but it really helps you to get your game going. Guys know what to do, and then you rely on skill when it’s time to do so, but there are a lot of times where you have to keep it simple and make the plays that guys know it’s coming so you can be a step ahead.
I like the way we’re playing. Like I said, when we pay attention to that and don’t get away from it too much, I think we had some success during the year, especially on the road.
MARTIN ST. LOUIS
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: It’s a pretty dangerous building. 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.
Q. You’ve never played here with the Rangers. Did any of their past issues come up in conversations going into this series?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: To be honest, I didn’t have any conversation about this series with anybody. I was here a day earlier, so for me today I very quick talked to the coaches, but I haven’t been part of any conversations. For us, we’re trying to focus on what we do. If we get in trouble, we get away from our game. Obviously, you make adjustments along the way, but it’s got to start with how you play your game. You’ve got to bring what brought you here, and that’s what we’re doing.
Q. Are you proud of the way the team has played?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: For sure. It’s been an emotional time for everybody, but the guys have been behind me and supporting me. Their effort is unbelievable. You know we’re for sure very close right now, and we’re trying to keep feeding off of that.
Photo by Getty Images.