Rangers knock out Habs in 6, reach Cup finals

Comment: Off

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) reacts as time winds off the clock to give the New York Rangers a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in New York. The Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) reacts as time winds off the clock to give the New York Rangers a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in New York. The Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The New York Rangers celebrate after beating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in New York. The Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

New York Rangers center Brian Boyle (22) reacts as the puck crosses the goal line against Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski (35) during the second period in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in New York. The Rangers won 1-0. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) and goalie Cam Talbot (33) wave to fans after beating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The New York Rangers celebrate after a second period goal by center Dominic Moore (28) against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

NEW YORK (AP) — Henrik Lundqvist was perfect on a night he needed to be.

After one of the toughest games of his career, the New York goalie bounced back with a performance that put the Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals.

Lundqvist wasn’t overly busy in stopping all 18 shots he faced, but there was no margin for error as Dominic Moore’s second-period goal was the only offense in New York’s 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 on Thursday night.

The Rangers, who spent parts of the season as a question mark to make the playoffs, are in the finals for the first time since winning the title 20 years ago.

“We played so well the entire game,” Lundqvist said. “For me it was more about just being focused on the shots they had.”

Lundqvist and the Rangers shook off a 7-4 loss on Tuesday night in Montreal when they had their first chance to end the Eastern Conference finals.

Lundqvist quickly grew tired of the questions about that poor night, when he was yanked after allowing four goals in less than two periods. Now he is in the finals for the first time in his nine-year career.

“It’s been tough,” Lundqvist said. “You have so many highs. You have a few lows where you’re questioning a lot of things, but then you just have to make up your mind, you can’t have any excuses. I don’t think I’ve been more determined to win a hockey game. To put ourselves in a spot where we can play for the Cup is extremely special.”

Lundqvist leaped several times in his crease with his hands raised as streamers were fired off from the rafters at the final buzzer.

“It was just such a great feeling to see how we responded from the last game,” Lundqvist said. “The third period, I think we played our best period of the playoffs. When it mattered the most, the guys really stepped up.”

Lundqvist tied the team record for playoff shutouts with nine.

The Rangers are the first team to advance to the finals after being stretched to seven games in the first two rounds. To celebrate, the Empire State Building was immediately lit up in the team’s red, white and blue.

The Rangers don’t have a captain, so assistants Brad Richards, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, were called to accept the Prince of Wales Trophy but didn’t touch it. The whole team joined them and posed for a photo while the Garden rocked with yells of “We Want The Cup!”

The Stanley Cup finals will begin Wednesday at either Chicago or Los Angeles, which leads the Western finals 3-2.

“It’s something you feel good (about), but you have to keep in the back of your mind that this isn’t the ultimate goal,” Richards said. “It’s an amazing achievement to be able to play for the Cup.”

Montreal’s Dustin Tokarski, who replaced injured No. 1 goalie Carey Price after Game 1, was solid in making 31 saves.

“It’s pretty tough to have this opportunity to be a couple wins away from the Stanley Cup finals,” Tokarski said. “I know it’s going to be hard to come by again, but it was a heck of a series.”

Montreal made one final push after Tokarski was pulled for an extra skater with 1:53 left. Lundqvist held off the Canadiens as fans chanted “Hen-rik! Hen-rik!”

The Rangers broke the deadlock late in the second after some good grinding work in the left corner by rugged forward Derek Dorsett. The puck came free to defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who sent it behind the net to Brian Boyle in the right corner. Boyle spotted Moore alone in the crease and fed a crisp pass for a hard shot that got through Tokarski with 1:53 left.

Moore punctuated his third goal of the playoffs with an emphatic fist pump and yell.

“Like any player on the team, you want to do your job,” said Moore, who had six goals in the regular season. “In big games like this, every little bit counts.”

Montreal then drew its second power play of the night when Richards was forced to

Comments

comments

About the Author