Rangers finally win playoff game at MSG, beat Habs to tie series

Alexander Radulov #47 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrtaes his goal at 15:35 of the third period against the New York Rangers in Game Three at Madison Square Garden on Sunday in New York City. The Canadiens defeated the Rangers 3-1

Rangers finally win playoff game at MSG, beat Habs to tie series

Those games are exciting to watch and to analyze.

Honestly, Alain Vigneault is starting to turn into Bruce Budreau; a great regular season coach but not a guy who can get it done in the playoffs.

Lineup update: The Canadiens went with the same lineup that produced victory in Game 3, but Claude Julien juggled his lines in the second period with Shaw joining Philip Danault and Max Pacioretty, while Radulov and Artturi Lehkonen flanked Alex Galchenyuk.

Everything about this one felt different from two nights earlier, from the bread-and-butter speed and playmaking the Rangers displayed to generate far more looks, a more aggressive and cohesive forecheck, determination in winning pucks and the crowd, whose cheers and applause were louder and more frequent as they responded to a vastly improved performance.

Gallagher, Paul Byron and Tomas Plekanec made a major impact in Montreal's Game 2 overtime win over the Rangers to even their Eastern Conference quarter-final at a game apiece. Fast had jumped on an Andrei Markov turnover in the far corner, then curled towards the net and shovelled a backhander between Price's legs to give NY its first lead since Game 2. That said, it's hard to gauge the true effect of this lineup shakeup and frontloading because...

With Montreal leading 1-0, the Rangers' Mats Zuccarello was whistled for a double-minor for high-sticking 4:07 into the third. The old adage "you win as a team, you lose as a team" has never been more valid.

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.

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Things turned ugly late in the second when Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl was given a major penalty and a game misconduct for intent to injure when he was sent off for spearing Chris Tierney in the groin. NY outshot Montreal, 32-24, and forced the Canadiens into 16 giveaways. Fast was able to pounce on the loose puck, and stuffed it through Price's legs to give the Rangers the 1-0 lead they desperately needed. Crosby scored the game's first goal and then assisted on goals by Jake Guentzel in the second and Evgeni Malkin in the third. The Rangers are 0 for 12 on the power play in the series. The difference in heat maps after the first 20 (left) and the second 20 minutes (right) is stark and thoroughly unappealing.

A year ago, NY trailed Pittsburgh 2-1 going into Game 4 at home and was shut out 5-0 before the Penguins closed the series in five games en route to winning the Stanley Cup.

The Montreal also used hitting as a way to create a scoring chances.

More problematic is that the Rangers aren't just flipping the script, they're actively doing more. The Rangers managed just 21 shots on goal in Game 3 and had 21 giveaways, including 10 in the first period. He consistently got to the blue paint and provided maximum effort across 200 feet of ice throughout his 16:31 of ice time.

Louis Blues are up two games to none in their respective Stanley Cup first-round series. He finished eighth in the National Hockey League with 35 regular season goals.

The Rangers surely pay attention to these numbers as the last team to parade in the big apple did so in 1994 and only played 23 games. D Nick Holden, who played the first two games of the series before being scratched for Game 3, was back for Game 4.

They just need to try.

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