The New York Rangers are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 1994 Stanley Cup the only way they knew how.
Dominic Moore scored with 1:53 left in the second period and Henrik Lundqvist made 18 saves for the shutout as the New York Rangers edged the Montreal Canadiens, 1-0, to clinch the Eastern Conference final four games to two at Madison Square Garden Thursday night.
It is the Rangers first trip to the Stanley Cup final since 1994, when they won their first championship since 1940. New York will face the winner of the Western Conference final between defending champion Chicago and Los Angeles. The Kings lead the best-of-seven series, three games to two, with game six at 9 p.m. Friday at Staples Center.
The Stanley Cup final will start Tuesday at the winner of the Western Conference Final series. Both the Kings and the Blackhawks had more regular season points than the Rangers.
Moore beat Montreal goalie Dustin Tokarski after he converted a pass from Brian Boyle on cycle-play to give the Rangers the only goal of the game.
Tokarski, who relieved all-star netminder Carey Price after an injury in the series opener, made 30 saves and frustrated the Rangers most of the night before Moore’s game-winning tally.
Montreal had its best chance to get on the board, but Lundqvist denied Thomas Vanek from giving the Habs the lead with just under five minutes to go in the second period after a deflection off of Rangers defensemen Dan Girardi.
Here’s a video of the save:
Lundqvist bounced back from his worst performance of the postseason where he was pulled early in the second period of game five after giving up four goals in an eventual 7-4 loss in Montreal. Lundqvist had been 0-5 since 2009 in non-Game 7 clinching games.
The Rangers harried the Canadiens all night with their forecheck and kept them in Montreal’s zone most of the night. New York couldn’t get that critical second goal, but Lundqvist and the Ranger defense did just enough to clinch the Prince of Wales Trophy for the first time since 1994.
Montreal went 0-for-2 on the power play and could not cash in when Vanek drew a hooking call with 12.9 seconds to go in the second period. The Habs’ power play went a dismal 2-for-23 for the six-game series.
The Canadiens’ loss means that Canada will have its Stanley Cup drought extend to 21 years. Montreal was the last team from north of the border to hoist the nearly 40-pound trophy in 1993, when it defeated Los Angeles four games to one.
New York had to make a lineup change as former Montreal defenseman Raphael Diaz substituted for the suspended John Moore. Montreal got former Ranger Brandon Prust back who was suspended two games after breaking Ranger forward Derek Stepan’s jaw in game three. Prust played for Dale Weise, who was injured during game.
Dan Mount covers the Rangers, Islanders and Devils for NYSportScene.com. He also is an NHL columnist for TJRSports.com and is a producer for Spadora on Sports. He can be found on Twitter @DanMountSports.