NHL Playoffs: Rick Nash, Rangers Tie First-Round Series 2-2 With 2-1 Win Over Canadiens
After a 3-1 loss on Sunday, the New York Rangers rebounded to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 at home Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round thanks to goals from Rick Nash and Jesper Fast.
NHL Playoffs: Rangers Beat Canadiens 3-1 In Game 4, Tie First-Round Series 2-2
With the win, the Rangers have evened the series 2-2 and snapped a six-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday at Montreal.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 shots for New York.
“It was our best home game [of the series], for sure,” said Nash, who scored the game-winning goal early in the second period. “It was a tough couple of days after Game 3 (a 3-1 loss on Sunday), and we knew we needed to come with a good effort. I still think the third period could be a bit better, we could create more. But you’ve got to give them a little credit too. They came hard.”
Torrey Mitchell scored for the Canadiens, who nearly tied it up when Shea Weber’s slap shot from the left circle hit the post with 1:18 left. Carey Price made 30 saves for Montreal.
“They were desperate tonight,” the Habs goalie said. “They executed a pretty good game plan. You have to give that team credit; they played well tonight.”
Unlike in Games 2 and 3, the Rangers outshot the Canadiens 32-24 on Tuesday, and the results of New York’s greater effort showed.
Fast put the Rangers up 1-0 at 11:39 of the first period. Brady Skjei hit the puck around the boards and it bounced off the stick of Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov and in front of Fast, who tapped the puck between Price’s pads for his first goal of the postseason.
“I think we just forced passes tonight,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “We weren’t as good tonight as we were [Sunday] night. I thought that we were forcing things more than just managing the puck better, and that resulted in a lot of icings. Same thing on the faceoffs; we had a lot of draws on our own hand, so we needed to manage the puck better tonight.”
Michell then got his own first goal of the playoffs to tie it 1-1 for Montreal with 1:23 remaining in the first period. The center one-timed a pass by Weber from the left circle to beat Lundqvist. Mitchell’s goal came after Alexander Radulov won a puck battle against Skjei at the Rangers blue line and delivered a no-look backhand pass to set up Mitchell and Weber on a two-on-one.
Nash’s tie-breaking goal came on an assist from Ryan McDonagh. Nash cut to the net and fired a backhand shot past Price at 4:28 of the second period for his second goal of the playoffs.
“I saw a hole to the net right away,” Nash said. “I haven’t seen the replay; I don’t know if I beat the guy off the wall or if he kind of cheated out, I’m not sure. But right away, I thought I had a lane. Once I took to my backhand, I saw the five-hole kind of open up.”
Lundqvist made a brilliant glove save with 9:11 left in the first period. The Rangers goalie blocked Andrew Shaw’s wrist shot on a breakaway following Alex Galchenyuk pass through the neutral zone. Lundqvist’s save came less than a minute before Fast’s goal.
The Rangers were 0-for-2 on the power play and are 0-for-12 in the series. The Canadiens were 0-for-3. Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich played his first-ever NHL Playoff game. Tanner Glass was a healthy scratch. Defenseman Nick Holden played after being a healthy scratch for Game 3. Holden replaced Kevin Klein.
Game 5 is set for Thursday at 7 pm EST in Montreal.
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