On Saturday afternoon, the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens got the Eastern Conference Finals underway with Game 1 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Many were hoping that the conference finals would bring us the same excitement that the rest of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs have provided so far, but that wasn’t the case.
New York jumped out to a commanding lead early and they never looked back as they went on to win Game 1,
Martin St. Louis got the scoring underway for New York with assists by Dominic Moore and Kevin Klein just four and a half minutes into the game. That was just the first of many goals that Habs netminders Peter Budaj and Carey Price were going to give up on the night.
A few minutes later, Mats Zuccarello scored his fourth goal of the postseason to put the Rangers up 2-0.
Montreal did make things interesting midway through the second period with a goal from Rene Bourque to pull within one, but that was the closest that they ever got and it was all downhill for the Canadiens from there.
The Rangers scored two goals within the final two minutes of the period off the sticks of Chris Kreider and Brad Richards as they began to pull away.
In the third period, the Rangers kept the momentum rolling when they scored three goals within the first five minutes thanks to some bone-headed penalties from the Habs.
Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Rick Nash all found the back of the net and all three goals were scored on the power play.
Just five minutes into the final period, Montreal found themselves trailing 7-1.
From that point on, it was smooth sailing for the Rangers who were in clear command of the game and set to steal away Game 1 on the road to claim home ice advantage in the series.
There was one bright spot for the Habs in the final twenty minutes when Lars Eller scored an unassisted shorthanded, but it was too little, too late for the Canadiens as they watched the Rangers celebrate a 7-2 win in front of the Montreal crowd.