Rangers down Canadiens to inch towards finals berth
By Julian Linden
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in an overtime thriller on Sunday to move within one victory of a first Stanley Cup appearance in two decades.
Roared on by a boisterous Madison Square Garden crowd, the Rangers gave their long suffering fans cause for optimism that an overdue NHL title could be close when Martin St. Louis scored the Game Four winner six minutes into overtime.
The result gives the Rangers a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals with the next game in Montreal on Tuesday.
St. Louis sealed the win when he combined with Carl Hagelin and Brad Richards to slap the puck past Canadiens goaltender Dustin Tokarski from an acute angle, whipping the Big Apple into a frenzy of excitement after a tense game.
"It was a really competitive game but we put ourselves behind the eight ball with all those penalties," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told reporters.
"It was us. They were killing us and we can't afford to do that."
Hagelin had opened the scoring just seven minutes into the first period with a short-handed goal when his team mate Benoit Pouliot was in the penalty box for high sticking.
The Canadiens have struggled with their power play during the series and their inability to score was compounded when Ryan McDonagh and Brian Boyle got the puck to Hagelin on the breakaway. Continued...