Post-game notes & quotes courtesy of the NYR & the NHL:
Game 2: Rangers 3, Canadiens 1 .
– The Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 3-1, tonight in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Bell Centre. The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series, 2-0.
– The Blueshirts have a 10-6 record in the playoffs, including a 6-3 record on the road. The Blueshirts have won at least six road games in one playoff year for the first time since they won seven in 1994.
– New York has posted a 10-2 all-time playoff series record when winning the first two games of a seven-game playoff series, and a 4-1 series record when winning the first two games of a seven-game playoff series on the road.
– The Rangers have won five consecutive playoff games, including four consecutive playoff games on the road, dating back to Game 5 of the Metropolitan Division Finals on May 9 at Pittsburgh. The Blueshirts have won at least five consecutive playoff games since they won seven straight from Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 17, 1994 vs. NY Islanders to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 5, 1994 at Washington. New York has won at least four straight road games for the first time since a five-game streak from Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals on May 9, 1972 at Boston to Game 1 of the Semifinals on Apr. 12, 1973 at Chicago.
– The Blueshirts have won six straight playoff games against the Canadiens, including five consecutive road games at Montreal, dating back to the Rangers’ first all-time playoff game at Bell Centre, Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, on Apr. 21, 1996. The Rangers are the second team in NHL history to win five straight playoff games in Montreal (Carolina – Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 9, 2002 to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on May 2, 2006). New York is also one of four teams in NHL history to win six straight playoff contests against the Canadiens (Philadelphia – Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Apr. 26, 2008 to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 18, 2010; Boston – Game 7 of the Adams Division Finals on Apr. 29, 1991 to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 16, 1994; Buffalo – Game 5 of the Semifinals on May 6, 1975 to Game 1 of the Adams Division Semifinals on Apr. 5, 1990). No NHL team has won more than six straight games against the Canadiens and five straight games against the Canadiens in Montreal in postseason play.
– New York was 1-for-3 (3:08) on the power play in the contest. The Rangers have tallied a power play goal in four of the last five games, including each of the last four road games, going 7-for-21 (33.3%) over the span. The Blueshirts have recorded a power play goal in four straight playoff games on the road for the first time since they tallied a power play goal in 11 straight road games from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on June 4, 1994 against Vancouver to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 28, 1996 against Montreal.
– The Rangers’ penalty kill was 4-for-4 (6:34) in the contest. New York has not allowed a power play goal in the last seven games (20 times shorthanded), and is 28-for-29 (96.6%) in its last 10 games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Blueshirts didn’t allow a power play goal in at least seven straight playoff games was a 10-game stretch during the 1940 playoffs.
– The Blueshirts have allowed two goals or fewer in 12 out of 16 playoff games this year, including five consecutive playoff games. New York has allowed two goals or fewer in at least five straight playoff games for the first time since a seven-game stretch from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Apr. 23, 1997 vs. Florida to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 11, 1997 at New Jersey.
– Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves in the contest to improve to 10-6 this year in the playoffs, and 6-3 on the road. Lundqvist’s 40 saves were the most he has made in a playoff game in that did not go to overtime in his career. The Rangers goaltender has won a playoff career-high, five consecutive playoff games, posting a 1.20 GAA and a .964 SV% over the span. Lundqvist recorded his 40th career playoff victory in the contest, becoming the 19th goalie in NHL history to win 40 playoff games with one franchise. Lundqvist is also two wins shy of passing Mike Richter for first on the team’s all-time playoff wins list. Lundqvist leads the NHL in wins (10) and SV% (.934), and ranks second in GAA (1.93) in the playoffs.
– Ryan McDonagh tallied a goal, registered a power play assist, and led all Rangers with a playoff career-high, six shots on goal in a team-high, 25:24 of ice time. The Rangers defenseman has registered a goal in consecutive playoff games for the first time in his career, and has recorded six points (two goals, four assists) in the last two contests. McDonagh is the first Ranger to tally at least six points in the first two games of a playoff series since Bernie Nicholls registered six points in the first two games of the Patrick Division Finals against Washington in 1990. McDonagh has established playoff career-highs in goals (three), assists (six) and points (nine) this year, and is tied for third on the team in assists and ranks fifth on the team in points in the playoffs.
– Rick Nash recorded the game-winning goal, posted a plus-one rating, and recorded two shots on goal in 14:14 of ice time. Nash’s game-winning goal was the first of his career in the playoffs. The Rangers forward has tallied a goal in consecutive playoff games for the first time in his career, and has established playoff career-highs in goals (two), assists (six), points (eight), and shots on goal (56). Nash leads the NHL in shots on goal, is tied for third on the team in assists, and is tied for sixth on the team in points in the playoffs.
– Martin St. Louis tallied a power play goal and recorded two shots on goal in 17:06 of ice time. The Rangers forward has registered a four-game point streak (three goals, two assists), and has recorded a goal in consecutive games (two goals in the two contests). St. Louis is tied for the team lead in goals (five) and points (11) in the playoffs.
– Derek Stepan tallied two assists and recorded four shots on goal in 19:10 of ice time. The Rangers forward has tied playoff career-highs with a four-game assist/point streak (one goal, five assists over the span), and has posted consecutive multi-point point games in the playoffs for the first time in his career (one goal, three assists over the last two contests). Stepan has established a playoff career-high in points (10) this year. The Rangers forward is tied for the team lead in assists (seven) and is tied for third on the team in points in the playoffs.
– Chris Kreider recorded an assist and was credited with four hits in 13:13 of ice time. Kreider has registered an assist/point in consecutive playoff games for the first time in his career (one goal, two assists over the last two games), and has tallied five points (two goals, three assists) in the last five games.
– Dan Girardi led all skaters with five blocked shots and was credited with two hits in 21:35 of ice time. The Rangers defenseman skated in his 80th career playoff game, passing Rod Gilbert for fifth on the team’s all-time playoff games played list. Girardi leads the NHL in blocked shots (45) and is tied for the team lead in hits (50) in the playoffs.
(via ASAP Sports and the NHL):
Q. Henrik, these last five games, I guess, when you guys have faced some adversity, it just seems like the whole team seems to kind of even out a little bit better than they have maybe in some games before in the playoffs. Do you feel like the temperament of the team has changed a little bit these last five games?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Well, we’ve definitely had our ups and downs, but the key is not to get hurt and I think that is the big thing for us. Last couple games we’d go through a stretch where things are going against us, we’d come together and try to keep it really simple and don’t get hurt. Then when we have a good stretch, you try to really cash in.
Q. Could you describe what that start was like for this game, the way they came out? You probably could have predicted they came out that way but then they scored, and then to score again to change the emotion of the game?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Well, we knew they were going to come hard, but we put ourselves in a tough spot there by not getting pucks out. They were all over us. But to tie it up quickly like that, I think that was important to kind of even out the momentum a little bit.
The first period was a tough one. We knew they were going to come hard. They had a really strong 20 minutes there, but then going out in the second with the lead, it felt good. We felt confident. I felt like we played a really strong second and third. The third goal, obviously, was huge for us. But you have to win in different ways, and this is definitely a battle from the start. Then we kind of came back to basics, I felt like, especially in the second and third.
Q. Brad talked before the series began just about having the holdovers from that run in 2012 and how he felt like it would really fuel the hunger to get back here, and he kind of realized you don’t get these chances every year. Just how much of a sense of urgency is there in the desire to relish that opportunity?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: You’re trying right now to inspire each other, and personally, it’s a lot of fun to be out there. It’s exciting. It’s pressure. Like you said, Brad talked about it too, that you have to grab the opportunity to really do whatever you can. When I kind of sit down and collect my thoughts, my goal here is to leave it all out there. If it’s going to be enough, we’ll see.
But you don’t want to sit at the end of the year and feel like you had more to give. That’s what I felt a little bit the last time we were in the Conference Final. We didn’t reach our full potential, and it was extremely disappointing to end the season like that. If you go out and you play your absolute best and it’s not enough, it’s easier to accept. It’s still tough, but at least you want to feel like you left it all out there because you don’t get that many chances. That’s my goal right now to really try to reach my full potential and inspire teammates and everybody that’s helping us right now to kind of reach that level and see how far it takes us.
Q. Your counterpart tonight, Dustin Tokarski had only played ten games in the regular season before, never in the playoffs. As a goaltender that’s been through it all, what do you think that would be like for him being thrown into this?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Well, he played well. The mental aspect is everything for a goalie. So, obviously, coming in like this, it’s all about how you approach it, how you think, and he was probably in a good place because he played well. It’s about not putting too much pressure on yourself. Same thing for me. You go out and you have a lot of expectations on you, but you put a lot of pressure on yourself. It’s about finding the perfect place mentally where you feel like I can handle this. You want to enjoy it at the same time. It’s fun to be out there, even though it’s chaos at times and extremely intense. There are moments throughout the game where you really enjoy it, and there are moments where you’re not sure why you’re out there because it’s that intense.
But it’s definitely a great feeling when you come together as a group and you pull off a big win like this. It’s awesome.
Q. To your point about wanting to leave it all on the ice, all of your teammates credited you with the win tonight, as did the Habs coach. Do you feel like you had an intimidation factor at work now, and is that precisely what you want as a competitor?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: You have to go out and earn it every game. The first two here I think we played really well for the most part. I had to make a couple saves here and there, but as a group we played really well. I don’t really think about what’s in their head. What is their approach. I don’t really care. I try to just focus on what I have to do, really.
Q. Earlier in the season when you have some of your really tough games, do you ever envision this? Do you envision the biggest games and you being the difference?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: I did (laughing). No. I told myself things were going so bad that things are going to turn around. You have to believe in yourself. You have to believe in your teammates. It was definitely a tough stretch. One of the toughest I’ve had in my career, but things started turning around for me in December, I think. After that, came back to basics playing a very simple game and started getting results. But you definitely have to see yourself do well before you can do it because you have to kind of see yourself go somewhere. You know, that’s what I did.
Q. I guess, just start off, I know you always say that the goalies give you a chance, but the way the Canadiens started out tonight and with the atmosphere in the building, just how big was Hank in procuring this win?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, he’s the only reason why we were still in the game. They had a tremendous push. They had total control and possession. They make it 1-0, and obviously, the turning point is us, within a minute, scoring to tie it up off a lucky bounce. That changed the momentum and the dynamics of the game a little bit.
I thought we were able — from there I thought we clawed our way through that period, and in the second and third we were good until we took the penalty at the end there. We gave them a 6-on four, and they got some looks.
Q. It just seems like these last five games you’ve been able to — whether it was against Pittsburgh, they were able to come back or tie it. Just the even keel that you guys have seemed to be able to maintain with some hiccups, has that been hugely important to this point?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Credit there goes to, obviously, we’re getting the right saves at the right time. We’ve got some good leaders on our team that have been through battles and been through wars, and they keep our team well composed. When Montreal was pushing, on the bench, the talk was about we needed to start making some plays here. We needed to start to manage the puck, and they made it really challenging for us. But I thought after we got that break there on the goal there, we were a little bit better.
Q. You talked, I think it was before the series how Rick Nash had been leading your team in chances almost every game, but just couldn’t find the back of the net. He scores the goal the other day to make it 7-1, and then gets the winner tonight. What’s it mean to the group to see him put the puck in the net being who he is?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, he’s smiling a little bit more lately. And to see him finally get rewarded for working extremely hard, he was finding other ways to contribute, but I think he might be getting that little touch around the net back. That’s a really good sign for us.
Q. Alain, Ryan has six points in two games now, but he was more concerned about how his defensive game has improved. Is that what you’ve noticed as well?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Both go hand in hand. Like when Ryan’s gap is good and, obviously, he’s got tough match-ups because he’s always playing against the other team’s best line. When his gap is good and he’s battling hard in his one-on-ones, usually the offensive part of his game is there, and it’s been very good the last two games.
Q. I’m just wondering what your reaction was or what you thought when you found out that Montreal was going with the rookie?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Somehow we had an inclination last night that it was probably going to be him, so that didn’t surprise us.
Q. Did you ever get an explanation on the Alex Galchenyuk penalty in the second period, and if so, were you satisfied?
COACH THERRIEN: You know what, to win hockey games, first of all, you need some breaks and you need some calls at the right time. I’m sure the referees had a chance to review the call. They probably will take a different version of what he did, you know? It happened fast.
Obviously, to win a hockey game, you need breaks, and you need calls. Right now we don’t have those breaks, and tonight we didn’t have those calls at the right time. But I like our team effort. I thought our effort was great tonight.
Q. What factored into the decision to go with Tokarski this evening, and how difficult was it to break the news to Peter?
COACH THERRIEN: Yeah, the number one reason why we decided to go with Tokarski, you look at his track record, he’s a winner. I thought he played well tonight. We did talk to Peter this morning, and he really reacted as a pro, and he’s a good teammate to understand our decision. We let him know the reason why. So for sure for him, it could be tough. They’re all tough decisions, but we have to make them.
Q. Are you happy at all to have a couple of days between now and the next game? Does it help you regroup as a team?
COACH THERRIEN: Yeah, tomorrow’s going to be a day off for everyone, so I think it’s going to be good mentally and physically as well for the players and coaches. We’re going to have to regroup and make sure we have a good performance in New York. Like I said, momentum in the playoffs could change really quick.
Q. You just finished saying that you started the game exactly the way you hoped to start. When you do that and you still come out of the first period down, what is the effect on the team mentally?
COACH THERRIEN: You know what? The reason why we lost the game tonight was Lundqvist. Lundqvist was phenomenal, phenomenal. Stole the game. Those things happen in the playoffs, but I like the way we approached tonight’s game. He made a couple of breaks. And when you get those breaks, momentum can change really quick in the playoffs.
Q. Overall, how would you evaluate how Dustin did? Do you foresee sticking with him in Game 3?
COACH THERRIEN: Well, he did really well. I believe he did well, and we’re pleased with our decision. He did well.
Photo by Getty Images.