The story leading up to Game 2 focused on the man in net for the Canadiens. But the Rangers’ All-Star goaltender stole the headlines coming out of Game 2.
Henrik Lundqvist made 40 stops as the Rangers beat Montreal, 3-1, to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
“He’s the only reason why we were still in the game [early],” head coach Alain Vigneault said of Lundqvist. “They had a tremendous push. They had total control of the game.”
Carey Price was ruled out of net for the remainder of the series for the Canadiens, with Dustin Tokarski getting the start. Tokarski was effective, if not remarkable.
The Canadiens were the aggressors early on, with Max Pacioretty giving them the early lead after chest bumping the puck into the net off a bad clearance by Lundqvist.
But Ryan McDonagh answered back 17 seconds later when his slapshot deflected off defenseman Josh Gorges’ backside to even the score.
Rick Nash scored the go-ahead goal, and eventual game-winner, with 1:02 left in the first. Chris Kreider provided a cross-ice pass to Nash, whose slapshot beat Tokarski to his left side. Nash has now scored goals in two straight games after not scoring in the first 14 postseason games.
“He’s smiling a little bit more lately,” Vigneault said. “He might be getting that little touch around the net back.”
The Rangers are now 5-1 since Kreider returned to the lineup after missing much of the final months of the season with a broken hand. He has five points, including an assist Monday, in those six games.
Martin St. Louis, a day after he and the entire team attended his mother’s funeral, netted a goal in the second period to provide the final score of 3-1.
Game 3 is Thursday night from Madison Square Garden at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.