Rick Nash's goal early in the second period proved to be the Game 4-winner on Tuesday night as the New York Rangers knotted up their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Montreal Canadiens at two games apiece with a 2-1 victory.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves on the night to help the Rangers break a six-game home playoff losing streak that dated back to the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In an attempt to shake up an anemic offense that had a poor display in Game 3, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault shook up his lines and introduced rookie Pavel Buchnevich to the team, putting him on the first line alongside Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad.
The offense looked more crisp with the blended lines and was far more aggressive. In the game's first 11 minutes, their six shots totaled the same amount of attempts they landed on Price's goal during Sunday's loss.
"We were dumping pucks with a five-man forecheck and we don't have guys going to the bench for changes," Derek Stepan said after the game. "We were able to sustain a little pressure."
New York 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.
"We knew we had to respond as a group and that's what this group did tonight," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "I thought we managed the puck better and played a better game. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win the next two out of three and that's what we wanted."
Nash had a chance to double the Rangers' advantage on the power play with 5:39 left in the period, but his rush toward the net took out Price before the puck trickled into the net. The goal was waived off and the Rangers power play was over as Nash was whistled for goaltender interference.
The Canadiens struck back with 1:23 left in the first behind the strength of Alexander Radulov. In the neutral zone in front of the Rangers' bench, Radulov gained possession and held off Brady Skeij long enough to hit an onrushing Torrey Mitchell, who entered the zone with Shea Weber.
After a give-and-go, Mitchell was left with a wide-open tap-in as Lundqvist committed to Weber on his left side.
Nash was able to punch back for the Rangers though. With 4:28 gone in the second, Ryan McDonagh slotted a pass right to the tape of Nash, who was waiting at the left of Price's goal.
A simple move on his backhand was enough to slide the puck under the leg of Price and put the Rangers back in the lead.
"It was great," Nash said of his goal. "I was pumped up. It was a great pass by Ryan seeing me at the net and I just tucked it in between [Price's] five-hole."
New York's newfound abundance of energy in Game 4, especially in the second, seemed to befuddle Montreal as it was unable to record a shot on goal for the first 8:27 of the frame.
In fact, the Canadiens had just two shots through the first 17 minutes of the period before peeling off four in the final three.
"We didn’t have a very good second period, that’s what hurt us the most,” Canadiens head coach Claude Julien said. “If we had a better second period, we might have had a better ending, probably a tighter game. But that was the weakest part of our game besides our puck management.”
Regardless of Rangers domination, it was still a one-goal lead heading into the third as the hosts missed out on an opportunity to put the game away early.
New York managed to stay aggressive for most of the third period despite protecting a lead. Establishing time in Montreal's zone limited the Canadiens' chances of gaining any sort of offensive momentum.
The final two minutes still managed to provide some dramatics as Weber rang a slapshot off the post with 1:18 left, surely giving Rangers fans flashbacks to Game 2.
"They're a really good team," Lundqvist said. "And they came close again."
"I still think we could be a little better in the third period," Nash said. "And create some offense."
Even with room for improvement, it was enough to pull out the win and draw the series even.
"I felt like we had good energy in the room and had the belief that we could do this," Lundqvist said. "We felt like we had to play our best to get back to Montreal with a tie series, and that's exciting."
Things will shift back to the Bell Centre for Game 5 on Thursday night and if the Rangers can pull out another home victory, they can return to Madison Square Garden with an opportunity to advance in Game 6.