Thursday, 27 April, 2017

Carey Price will man the crease for Montreal in Game 4

Damon Campbell | 20 April, 2017, 09:38

Montreal took Game 3 of the series on Sunday with a 3-1 victory.

If a strong effort from Lundqvist was a near given, the rest of the Rangers knew they had to be a much better team than they were in Game 3, quicker to the puck, stronger on the forecheck, smarter.

From the opening face-off, the Rangers served notice that they would not surrender easily. Henrik Lundqvist made 54 saves and was stellar in defeat. But the preponderance of play was controlled by the Rangers. The video was pointed out on the New York Rangers postgame show on MSG. Price mishandled a puck behind the net and was late getting into position, giving Rick Nash (who was risky all night) an open side that he failed to convert.

NY found a breakthrough 11:39 into the game when Jesper Fast weaved his way to the front of the Montreal goal and stuffed home a backhanded chance through Price to blow the roof off Madison Square Garden. The Rangers also had six players on the ice, but the fact that the play wasn't blown dead just sums up how this series has been officiated. In the ensuing power play, Nash broke in on Price and recklessly bowled him over, performing his best Chris Kreider imitation.

"I saw a hole to the net right away", Nash said.

The Canadiens struck back with 1:23 left in the first behind the strength of Alexander Radulov. When Nash's penalty expired, NY extended their futility while up a man, aided by a clearing attempt and some proficient stick work in the lanes by Jordie Benn.

The Rangers bench boss chose to actually alter his forward complement in Game 4 after a wholesale lackluster Game 3 effort.

"We weren't great in Game 1".

The New York Rangers will face the same issue Sunday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series that they encountered throughout the regular season - finding a way to win at Madison Square Garden. The puck was retrieved by the Ranger forwards and the Canadiens were hemmed in their own end.

"The guys were playing on their toes", Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. Instead, the Rangers merged their newfound grit with their established speed and skill game. In doing so, the Canadiens limited NY to 21 shots. Shea Weber ate up nearly 30 minutes of ice time on Sunday, the most ice time by any skater on either side by far.

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In period three, Coach Julien juggled his lines to try and get something going.

Andrew Shaw came closest to scoring for the Habs when his shot in the second-period grazed the outside of the post.

That focus seems to be on forechecking the slower Rangers defensemen and letting goaltender Carey Price see as many shots as possible.

Other times, you get last night.

Chaos is the right word for Nash's game when he consistently gets his body to high-traffic areas.

After these turnovers, the teams exchanged chances but could not convert. Lundqvist lost his stick for a second time about five minutes later, but the puck was cleared out of danger. Jimmy Vesey made a handsome rush the other way and forced Price to make a superlative toe save to keep the deficit to one goal.

The Rangers still led the Canadiens in hits in Game 4. "I thought we did a good job defensively and offensively, but also our special teams were very good tonight too".

All the pressure was on the Canadiens and they responded. But Kuhnhackl found the back of the net on a rebound less than two minutes later to make it 4-3 before Jenner put Columbus back up by two.

Forward Michael Grabner has scored in both games of the series and missed on a breakaway attempt in the third period Friday night that could have made it 4-2. NY prevailed on this night 2-1. It was Lehkonen's first in the playoffs, and his third in three career games against NY. The goal was the latest tying playoff goal in Canadiens history, beating Jacques Lemaire's goal in 1975 with 24 seconds remaining. The Rangers carried the play most of the night from the opening face-off. After this sequence, the Canadiens were able to create a flurry of scoring chances. Shea Weber and Torrey Mitchell finished it all off with a attractive passing sequence that ended up in the back of the net. Carey Price made 30 saves.

"It wasn't my best", said Pacioretty. As always, Gallagher was not outworked by the opposition.

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