RANGERS PLAY SPIRITED GAME TO KNOT SERIES AT 2

              Game Summary                                                         MTL: C. Price (L)  NYR: H. Lundqvist (W)   Event Summary

        DOWN, BUT NOT OUT – The Rangers have won six of the last eight playoff games they have played when trailing in a series, dating back to Game 5 of the Second Round against Washington in 2015.

        SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE – Since the start of the 2012 Playoffs, seven of the 14 playoff series the Rangers have played in through the first four games were tied at two games apiece. In those series knotted at two games after four played, the Blueshirts posted a 4-2 series record at two games apiece over the span.

        CORE FOURThe Blueshirts have won Game 4 in five of their last seven playoff series, dating back to the Eastern Conference Final against Montreal in 2014. Also, the Rangers have posted a 10-3 record in Game 4 of a playoff series at home since the start of the 2007 Playoffs.

        WINNING HAB-IT – New York has won 10 of its last 14 playoff games against Montreal, dating back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 1996.

        TWO GOOD – The Rangers have earned at least two wins in 11 of 14 playoff series since the start of the 2012 Playoffs and in 15 of 20 playoff series since the outset of the 2007 Playoffs.

        HOME COOKING – New York has earned at least one win at home in 19 of their last 20 playoff series, dating back to the start of the 2007 Playoffs.

        FINISHING STRONG –  Since the beginning of the 2013 Playoffs, the Rangers have posted a 20-12 record in Games 4-7 of a playoff series, including a 13-4 record in Games 4-7 of a playoff series at home.

        PLAYOFF PERFORMERS – The Rangers lead the NHL in playoff games played since the start of the 2012 Playoffs (85). Also, the Blueshirts lead all Eastern Conference teams in playoff wins over the span (42).

        HITTING MACHINE – The Blueshirts were given credit for 43 hits in tonight’s contest. All 18 skaters registered at least one hit, while 16 of 18 skaters recorded at least two hits. The Rangers lead the NHL in hits in the playoffs this year (203).

        SHUTTING THE DOOR – New York has allowed two goals or fewer in 25 of its 27 playoff wins since the start of the 2014 Playoffs.

        SHOOTING GALLERY – The Rangers registered 32 shots on goal in tonight’s contest, and 16 of 18 skaters recorded at least one shot on goal.

        KILL ZONE – The Rangers were 3-for-3 (4:34) on the penalty kill in the contest. Dating back to the regular season, New York has not allowed a power play goal against in seven of its last nine games (22-for-25; 88.0% over the span).

        Rick Nash registered the game-winning goal and recorded two shots on goal. Nash has tallied a goal/point in two of the last three games, as well as in seven of his last 12 games (dating back to the regular season). Also, Nash has registered 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in his last 13 playoff games. He is tied for the team lead in goals (two) and points (two) in the playoffs this year.

        Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves and stopped all 12 shots he faced over the final two periods, to earn the win. He appeared in his 120th career NHL playoff game in tonight’s contest, passing Dominik Hasek and Tom Barrasso for sole possession of 10th place on the league’s all-time playoff appearances list. Lundqvist has posted a 2-2 record, along with a 1.89 GAA, a .944 SV%, and 1 SO through the first four games of the series, and he leads the NHL in saves in the playoffs thus far this year (134). Lundqvist started his 119th consecutive playoff game in tonight’s contest, and the streak dates back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against New Jersey in 2006. Lundqvist is one of three goaltenders in NHL history who have started at least 100 consecutive playoff games with one franchise (Martin Brodeur – New Jersey; Patrick Roy – Colorado).

        Ryan McDonagh notched an assist on the game-winning goal, recorded four hits, was credited with two takeaways, and posted a plus-one rating in 22:22 of ice time. He recorded his 27th career playoff assist as a Ranger, passing James Patrick for the fourth-most playoff assists by a Rangers defenseman in franchise history. The only Rangers defensemen who have tallied more career playoff assists than McDonagh are Brian Leetch, Brad Park, and Ron Greschner.

        Jesper Fast tallied the first goal of the game, led all skaters with five hits, registered two shots on goal, and posted a plus-one rating in 15:01 of ice time. He is tied for the team lead in points in the playoffs this year (two; one goal, one assist). Also, Fast has tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in his last five playoff contests.

        Brendan Smith was credited with three hits and posted a plus-one rating while skating in a team-high, 22:44 of ice time. 

        Michael Grabner led all skaters with five shots on goal, was credited with two hits, recorded two blocked shots, and posted a plus-one rating in tonight’s contest.

        Mika Zibanejad led the Rangers with ten faceoff wins (10-for-17; 58.8%) and registered three shots on goal in the game.

  • Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers head coach

On the effort tonight…

“We knew we had to respond as a group and that’s what this group did tonight. We’ve proved it in the past. We talked about managing the puck better. I thought we managed the puck better tonight. We played a better game. We were able to give ourselves an opportunity. It’s a two out of three (series). That’s what we wanted.” 

On how Pavel Buchnevich played tonight…

“He seemed real good before the game; he seemed to be in a good space. I thought he went out on the ice and played a good game. He made some good plays with the puck. That line had some good zone time, and they used their speed and their skill.” 

On Rick Nash’s play and whether the team fed off it…

“It’s a team concept. Whether it be Rick or any player making an effort play out there, everybody notices that. We got quite a few effort plays tonight, whether it was on the forecheck creating turnovers or whether it be on the backcheck stopping their speed. That’s a real strong team on the other side there. To be able to compete and play against them, you have to make every shift count, and that’s what we tried to do tonight.”

  • Claude Julien, Montreal Canadiens head coach

On the team’s decision making in the third period…

“We could have managed the puck a little bit better. As I said earlier, the first period we worked hard. I thought the first 10 minutes we handled it pretty well and then a couple of breakaways you wish you could have capitalized on – at least one. The second period, I think we had a poor outing. In the second and third period, we tried, but we weren’t able to find the back of the net. Some nights you get some breaks and some nights you don’t. We need to be better if we want to win hockey games this series. They were the better team tonight than they were the other night and we weren’t as good.”

On playing in the neutral zone…

“I think we just forced passes tonight. Like I said, we weren’t as good tonight as we were the other night. I thought that we were forcing things more than just managing the puck better, and that resulted in a lot of icing. Same thing on the face offs, we had a lot of draws on our own hand, so we needed to manage the puck better tonight.”

  • Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers defenseman

On what he liked best about the team tonight …

“We talked about trying to take away their time and space in the neutral zone.  I liked that we had good gap up in their face trying to not allow them to carry the puck in the zone as much.  It helped us not get stuck in the zone that much and be fresh to make plays out of our own end and spend some good time there.” 

On whether the team played with more will…

“The guys were playing on their toes.  They wanted to compete, wanted to battle and wanted the puck on their sticks.  We proved to ourselves now that there’s no reason we can’t play like this every time.  We have to in order to continue playing here.  It’s a matter of backing up this win.” 

On the game-winning goal…

“I was trying to keep the puck in, and then I actually lost the handle of my own stick.  Thankfully I was able to keep the puck alive in my feet.  I just tried to find somebody around the net and a stick blade there, and Nasher (Nash) made a good read jumping behind him and a pretty good finish as well.”

  • Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers goaltender

On what this wins says about the team…

“We needed our best effort tonight, and we got it.  All 20 guys worked extremely hard.  We had jump from the get-go, we created more chances.  Montreal had some good chances in the first, but after that, we controlled the game.  But as long as it’s a one-goal game you never know – a bad bounce or a good play by them and it’s a tied game.  I think the patience we showed and the confidence in the situation was great to see.” 

On the final two minutes of the game…

“After what happened in Montreal, you know for sure that the game is not over until it’s over.  We worked really hard until the end, made some big plays, made blocks when we had to.  It felt like we earned this one; we worked really hard.  I felt like we had a few more chances, but in the end, it’s about finding a way to win.  It’s not about thinking you earned the win, and tonight we did.  We needed this for so many reasons.  It’s no secret we’ve been really disappointed with the way things have been going at home the past two years here in the playoffs, so we needed this win for this series but also moving forward.” 

On whether he saw urgency from the team tonight…

“We had some good meetings, a good practice yesterday.  It’s one thing to have all these meetings and talk about it, and it’s another to actually go out and do it. I felt like we had good energy in the room and we believed we could do this.  We felt like we had to play our best here to get this win and go back to Montreal with a tied series.  It’s exciting. They’re a good team, and they came close again.  But I am really happy and proud of the way the guys came together tonight and played their best.”

  • Rick Nash, New York Rangers forward

On his goal tonight…

“It was a great play by Ryan McDonagh to find me going to the net. I was trying to go to the net all night and trying to cause some chaos.” 

On the character of the team…

“We came back after a tough loss. It was a bad couple of days around here. We let it all go and put it behind us, and I thought we had a pretty good performance tonight.” 

On the potential for a long series…

“It’s two good teams and some good hockey being played. We are trying to give our best every night and tonight was a big win for us.” 

On the team playing with desperation…

“We had to. We couldn’t be going back to Montreal down 3-1. We were a desperate team, and we knew we needed a good effort at home, and we got it.”

  • Derek Stepan, New York Rangers forward

On playing smarter with the puck tonight…

“We didn’t defend as much because we were doing it. We were able to put pucks in places where we could get it back. It’s not going to be perfect, but we really did a strong job of just making sure we were smart with the puck. I think we had guys coming through the neutral zone with speed and we were dumping pucks with five-man forechecks. We don’t have guys going to the bench for changes, and we were able to sustain a little pressure.” 

On if you feel more comfortable as the series goes on…

“Never in a playoff series are you comfortable. We came into MSG with an opportunity to even it out, make it a 2-2 series, and that’s what we did. Now we go to Montreal, and we have a three-game series now.” 

On the physicality of the matchup….

“I don’t think these two teams were very physical all year long, but we are so similar. I think each team is trying to get the edge with physicality. It’s making for a great series. I thought there’s been a lot of good hockey plays and good hockey hits.”

  • Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens goaltender

On the Rangers bouncing back…

“They were desperate tonight.  They executed a pretty good game plan.  You have to give that team credit; they played well tonight.” 

On Rick Nash’s goal…

“I didn’t know he was there, to be honest.  It was a quick point shot.  I didn’t quite get set on the post the way I wanted to.  I thought he was going to walk out front.” 

On playing well in back-to-back playoff games…

“The challenge is playing against the same team the next game.  Every game is going to be different.  Every team is going to adjust.  It’s just a battle of adjustments.”

  • Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens forward

On the teams sticking to their systems…

“Two of the best goalies in the league going head-to-head.  I know that they were frustrated, especially last game.  We got a little bit frustrated.  The team that stays even-keeled and just worries about that next shot is the team that normally ends up on top.  We’ve got to do a better job of sticking with it, sticking with the system, and trusting it when you’re down.  We need to trust that our shots will go in.”

–        Tomorrow (Wednesday, Apr. 19): Practice, 12:00 p.m. at MSG Training Center in Tarrytown, NY – Team is traveling to Montreal following practice

–        Next Game: Thursday, Apr. 20 at Montreal (Game 5); 7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network

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