Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
King – Shaw – Lehkonen
Galchenyuk – Ott – Martinsen
Markov – Weber
Benn – Petry
Beaulieu – Nesterov
Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn, Michael McCarron, Alexei Emelin, Brandon Davidson
So what happened to the notion that Henrik Lundqvist couldn’t win at the Bell Centre? Another one of those false narratives. We have been trying to prepare Canadiens fans for a week that this was going to be a tougher series than many were predicting.
The Rangers are a very good road team, in fact, the best in the NHL during the regular season. And just like that New York has stolen home-ice advantage in this series.
In Game 1, the Rangers got a first period lead on a flukey goal and then effectively employed the trap for two-and-a-half periods. The Canadiens, offensively challenged at the best of times, could not find the passing or shooting lanes for many grade A scoring chances. And Montreal did not effectively drive to the net to get to Lundqvist rebounds.
The Canadiens came out flying and controlled the first period with a 16-5 shot advantage. But it was Tanner Glass, owner of one regular-season marker, who put the Rangers on board with the only goal that mattered in this game.
The Habs came out deflated in the second period after dominating the first but finding themselves on the wrong side of the score. As a result, Carey Price had to perform his magic to keep the game close. Price earned the third star for the night.
In addition to Price, Shea Weber was a stand out. In just over 24 minutes of ice-time, Weber was a force both offensively and defensively proving his post-season value to the handful of doubters that remain.
The Rangers Alain Vigneault gets the nod in the coaching matchup. Claude Julien’s decisions to ice Nikita Nesterov and place Alex Galchenyuk on the fourth line are sure to be questioned in advance of Game 2.
▲ Carey Price, Shea Weber, Andrei Markov, Jeff Petry, Jordie Benn, Max Pacioretty
▼ Nathan Beaulieu, Nikita Nesterov, Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault