Final Score: NY Rangers 3, Montreal 2 (OT)
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Martin St. Louis scored at 6:02 of overtime to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Montreal tried to clear the puck out of the zone at the left point with several bodies fighting there, but Carl Hagelin was able to keep it in and fed the puck over to the right circle.
St. Louis took the pass in the clear and picked his spot, firing a high shot over Dustin Tokarski for the win and a 3-1 lead in the series.
“I was tired at the time and I was just hoping he’d end the game,” said Hagelin. “He did, it was a great shot by him. He didn’t have much to shoot it, but he found the spot over the glove.”
It was the first time the home team won in this series.
The Rangers are now one win away from their first appearance in the Stanley Cup finals since winning it all in 1994, and they can close the series out in Montreal on Tuesday.
Hagelin posted a goal and an assist, while Derick Brassard, who had missed the previous two games with an upper-body injury, returned to play and added a goal for the Rangers, who saw Henrik Lundqvist make 27 saves in the win.
Francis Bouillon and P.K. Subban scored for the Canadiens, who will have to win three straight if they want to return to the Cup finals for the first time since winning it all in 1993.
Tokarski stopped 26 shots in the loss.
“It was a good hockey game and it’s just unfortunate that we were on the losing end,” said Tokarski. “He had a little time with the puck and picked a corner, I just couldn’t get it. The only thing I’m going to think about now is coming back on Tuesday and winning that game.”
The Rangers drew first blood and they did it shorthanded, as Brian Boyle slid a pass from his own zone through the middle to Hagelin, who went in all alone and slid a backhander in for his sixth of the playoffs at 7:18.
Lundqvist stopped 11 shots in the first period, and helped the Rangers kill off three straight shorthanded situations.
Montreal tied the game at 8:08 of the second period when a 3-on-2 was turned into a 2-on-1 that saw David Desharnais slip a short pass from the middle to the left wing and Bouillon sneak a wrister into the right corner.
Tokarski kept the game tied with just over three minutes to play in the second after making a nice glove save off a St. Louis breakaway, but the Rangers scored late to take the lead into the second intermission.
During a Montreal line shift, Dan Girardi fired a pass from deep in his zone through the middle for Brassard, who skated in alone and blasted a shot in off the crossbar with 55.3 seconds to play in the frame.
“I saw when he came out I knew I was going short side, but just before I knew what I was going to do I didn’t know if I was going to deke or shoot,” said Brassard. “It was just great being back out there with all the guys and helping out.”
The Canadiens were awarded their sixth power play of the game 32 seconds into the third when Domonic Moore was called for tripping.
Montreal had failed to score on its first 14 man advantages in this series, but finally broke through on the 15th one as crisp passing found Subban clear in the high slot and he one-timed a blast into the net for his first point of the series two minutes into the third.
The Canadiens nearly went ahead with just over three minutes to play in regulation as Alex Galchenyuk was fed a pass in the slot for a clear shot, but he rang it off the crossbar and the game headed to overtime.
Montreal was given its eighth power play of the game just 30 seconds into overtime when Benoit Pouliot was called for holding the stick, but Lundqvist made several saves during the advantage to keep the game going.
It was the fourth playoff overtime winner of St. Louis’ career … Montreal finished the game just 1-for-8 on the power play while New York was 0-for-3 … Both teams had a player suspended after Game 3, as Montreal forward Brandon Prust was handed a two-game suspension for a blind side hit on New York forward Derek Stepan, and New York forward Daniel Carcillo was given a 10-game ban after getting physical with a ref … Stepan sat out the game with a broken jaw sustained in the hit from Prust … These clubs have split 14 postseason encounters, with the Rangers winning the last matchup in the opening round of the 1996 playoffs.