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Posted On Friday, 05.30.2014 / 1:06 AM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Stepan forgives Canadiens' Prust for late hit

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan still can't eat solid foods. After a hit early in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final from Montreal Canadiens forward and former teammate Brandon Prust fractured his jaw, Stepan had surgery and will be eating through a straw for roughly the next six weeks.

He hopes he will be able to eat properly at his wedding this summer. But with the Rangers now moving on to the Stanley Cup Final after a 1-0 victory in Game 6 on Thursday gave them a 4-2 series win against the Canadiens, Stepan has looked past the late hit that earned Prust a two-game suspension.

"I'm not going to hold it against [Prust]. He finished his check," Stepan said after the series-clinching win. "He feels bad about it. He knows it was late. We move on from there."


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Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 7:52 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Weise, Emelin out for Canadiens in Game 6

NEW YORK -- The Montreal Canadiens will play Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Thursday without forward Dale Weise or defenseman Alexei Emelin.

The Canadiens trail the best-of-7 series 3-2 and are trying to force a Game 7 at Bell Centre on Saturday.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 12:58 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Diaz set to step in for Moore on Rangers defense

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Raphael Diaz will replace John Moore against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.

Diaz confirmed after the Rangers' morning skate that he would be in for Moore, who was suspended two games Wednesday by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for an illegal hit to the head of Canadiens' forward Dale Weise in the third period of Game 5 on Tuesday.

"I'm fresh and I didn't play for a couple of weeks. Now I've got the opportunity," Diaz said. "I have fresh legs, but it's important to find the rhythm right away from the start. This is really important."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 10:34 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Montreal anthem singer would miss potential Game 7

If the Montreal Canadiens succeed in forcing a Game 7 in their Eastern Conference Final series against the New York Rangers, they will be playing it without their lucky charm in the building.

If the Canadiens win Game 6 against the Rangers on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS) then Ginette Reno will sing the Canadian national anthem prior to Game 7 on Saturday via video link from a downtown Montreal concert hall and not Bell Centre, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette.

It would be the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that the Canadiens play a home game without Reno singing "O Canada" live in the building.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 7:45 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens: 2-game ban for Rangers' John Moore 'fair'

NEW YORK -- The Montreal Canadiens chose their words carefully after the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Wednesday that New York Rangers defenseman John Moore was suspended for two games.

Moore received the two-game ban for an illegal hit on Canadiens forward Dale Weise with 9:19 remaining in the third period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final. He was assessed a match penalty on the play.

"If you talk to us, we're probably thinking more [games]. If you talk to the Rangers, they're thinking less. I guess it's kind of a middle ground," Montreal forward Daniel Briere said moments after the suspension was announced. "I think the biggest thing is hopefully seeing that Dale is OK. That's what matters the most for us."


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 7:43 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens' vets stress opportunity in Game 6

NEW YORK -- Most of the Montreal Canadiens will be entering uncharted territory when they take the ice against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). For the members of the Canadiens' roster who have played in the Stanley Cup Final, it's important to impress on their teammates how rare this opportunity is.

Of the Montreal players who have suited up in this series, only veteran forwards Brian Gionta and Daniel Briere have played in the Final. Gionta is the only one who has hoisted the Cup; he did it as a member of the New Jersey Devils in 2003. Forwards Travis Moen and George Parros played on the Anaheim Ducks team that won the Stanley Cup in 2007 but have not dressed in this series.

The advice and leadership from the few players who have been this far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are crucial, especially on a roster filled primarily with players who have never gotten this far.


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 2:04 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Bourque celebration: from Montreal to Lac La Biche

Bell Centre in Montreal and Lac La Biche, Alberta are about 2,200 miles apart, but there was a pretty solid celebration in both places Tuesday when Montreal Canadiens forward Rene Bourque completed his hat trick against the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Bourque's third goal came at 6:33 of the third period to give the Canadiens a 6-4 lead en route to their 7-4 victory.

While Bourque and his teammates celebrated his third goal, the 21,273 at Bell Centre engaged in the hockey tradition of littering the ice with hats.

However, a few fans took the tradition one step further.

Bourque grew up in Lac La Biche, located about three hours northeast of Edmonton, and his parents still live in the town. Fans were so excited by Bourque's three-goal night that they tossed hats on his parents' front lawn.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.27.2014 / 7:55 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Stepan in Rangers lineup for Game 5

MONTREAL -- New York Rangers center Derek Stepan is in the lineup for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday at Bell Centre after missing Game 4 following surgery to repair his broken jaw.

Stepan is wearing a plastic guard on his helmet to protect his jaw. He took line rushes with his usual linemates, Chris Kreider and Rick Nash, during warm-ups.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin did not participate in warm-ups and is not in the lineup for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nathan Beaulieu took Emelin's place.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.27.2014 / 1:47 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens' Pacioretty uses tough game as motivation

BROSSARD, Quebec -- There are few stars in the NHL who can be as hard on themselves as Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty.

Down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series entering Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Tuesday at Bell Centre (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), Pacioretty feels he has a lot to make up for.

Whether that's true or it's just something Pacioretty has convinced himself is true, it's probably a good sign for the Canadiens.

Pacioretty did not register a single shot on goal in a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 4 on Sunday, and he is eager to make amends in front of his home fans Tuesday.

"I don't feel good about my game last game, but that's the way it goes. It happens all the time," Pacioretty said after the morning skate. "Good players find a way to overcome a bad game like that, and I've got to do that [Tuesday]."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.27.2014 / 12:58 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens' Price skates again, but still out for series

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Injured Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price skated Tuesday for about half an hour with goalie coach Stephane Waite and head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend, but he is still ruled out to play in the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

It was the second straight day Price skated, but the first time he did so in full equipment.

Price took a few shots from Waite while already in the butterfly position with general manager Marc Bergevin looking on from a box above the ice at the Canadiens practice facility.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was unequivocal after the morning skate that not only will Price not play Game 5 of the series against the Rangers on Tuesday at Bell Centre (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), he won't play unless Montreal reaches the Stanley Cup Final.

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 and have a chance to reach the Final for the first time since 1994 with a victory.

"Our team realizes that when Carey was hurt it meant he would not play in this series," Therrien said. "There's a process that's in place for his return, but it won't be in the coming days. We don't want to be thinking about another series because we have a hell of a big game to play [Tuesday]."

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Posted On Monday, 05.26.2014 / 9:28 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers forward Stepan possible for Game 5

MONTREAL -- New York Rangers center Derek Stepan traveled here with the team Monday, and coach Alain Vigneault did not rule him out of Game 5 of Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 and would reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994 with a win.

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Posted On Monday, 05.26.2014 / 2:15 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens goaltender Price skates without equipment

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price skated without equipment Monday at their practice facility in Brossard, Quebec.

Price was declared out for the Eastern Conference Final after he was injured in Game 1, and coach Michel Therrien reiterated Monday that is still the case.

"A great sign," Therrien said of Price skating. "It's part of the rehab."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.25.2014 / 7:56 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Brassard returns to Rangers lineup for Game 4

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens are making lineup changes for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Some are by choice; others are due to an injury and two suspensions.

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Rangers center Derick Brassard is in the lineup after missing the past two games and most of Game 1 with an upper-body injury. He skated in between his usual linemates, Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello, during warmups.

Brassard has seven points in 15 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was injured early in Game 1 on a hit by Montreal defenseman Mike Weaver. Brassard played two shifts totaling 35 seconds in Game 1.


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Posted On Sunday, 05.25.2014 / 2:37 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Therrien taking spotlight off Canadiens players

NEW YORK – The Montreal Canadiens are expected to insert rookie forward Michael Bournival and veteran defenseman Francis Bouillon into their lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Nothing was confirmed, but neither Bournival nor Bouillon stayed on the ice late following the Canadiens morning skate with the rest of the scratches.

Bouillon is expected to take the place of rookie defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, who played one shift in the third period and overtime of Game 3, a 3-2 Canadiens win. Bournival replaces Brandon Prust, who is suspended for two games for his hit on Rangers center Derek Stepan.

Of course, the talk heading into Game 4 had little to do with actual hockey decisions and lineup news, instead being completely dominated by what the two coaches in the series are saying at the podium.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.25.2014 / 2:30 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens' Weaver combining hockey, design skills

NEW YORK -- With his missing tooth and thick playoff beard, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Weaver bears all the telltale features of a veteran stay-at-home NHL defenseman. He's lived up to the look, carving out a career as a shot-blocking defenseman with six different teams in the past 12 seasons.

A graduate of Michigan State University with a major in telecommunications and a minor in virtual reality software development and web design, Weaver is now combining one of his signature skills on the ice with one of his true passions off it.

"I'm the Chief Innovation Officer for this company that's going to come out in a little bit. That's my background," Weaver said. "It's fun. You've got to branch out."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.25.2014 / 2:08 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers expecting boost from Brassard's return

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't definitely declare that center Derick Brassard would return from an upper-body injury that has kept him out of the past two games of the Eastern Conference Final. But he wasn't subtle when he hinted that Brassard would be back in the lineup for Game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

"I'd say right now he's a game-time decision," Vigneault said of Brassard after New York's morning skate. "And looking good if I was a betting man."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.25.2014 / 1:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Miller expected back in Rangers lineup for Game 4

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers left wing J.T. Miller is expected to make his debut in the Eastern Conference Final series against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Saturday that he intends to have Miller in the lineup.

Miller, who has appeared in three games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and has two assists and a plus-3 rating, will likely join center Brian Boyle and right wing Derek Dorsett on the fourth line.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.25.2014 / 11:33 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Stepan ruled out of Game 4 vs. Canadiens

New York Rangers center Derek Stepan will not play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Stepan was released from the hospital Saturday night and visited teammates Sunday morning before returning home. Coach Alain Vigneault said there is no timetable for his return.

Stepan had surgery Friday to repair a broken jaw sustained in Game 3 when Canadiens forward Brandon Prust hit him 2:45 into the first period. He has never missed a game in his four-year NHL career, a span of 348 regular-season and Stanley Cup Playoff games.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.24.2014 / 7:51 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Brandon Prust apologizes for injuring Stepan

NEW YORK -- Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust expressed remorse Saturday for hitting his former teammate on the New York Rangers Derek Stepan and breaking his jaw, and said in light of the injury he understood the suspension of two games he was given by the NHL.

Prust will miss Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final series at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS) and Game 5 at Bell Centre on Tuesday. The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

He said his intention in making the hit was to bring some energy to his team on his first shift of the game, and in trying to focus on hitting Stepan cleanly, he did not realize how late the hit was.


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Posted On Saturday, 05.24.2014 / 7:19 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Fallout from Prust incident continues for Rangers

NEW YORK -- One day after suspensions and surgery became the most discussed topics in the Eastern Conference Final, the New York Rangers were still trying to come to grips with losing one of their top centers for an indefinite period of time and another teammate for what could be the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Rangers center Derek Stepan had surgery Friday night to repair his broken jaw, an injury sustained 2:45 into the first period of Game 3 on Thursday as a result of an illegal check from Brandon Prust, the Montreal Canadiens forward.

Prust was not penalized by the on-ice officials, but on Friday he was suspended two games for interference by the NHL's Department of Player Safety.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said it's "unlikely" Stepan will play in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series, 2-1.


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Posted On Saturday, 05.24.2014 / 6:02 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens' Bournival, Bouillon could play in Game 4

NEW YORK – Forward Michael Bournival and defenseman Francis Bouillon appear poised to return to the Montreal Canadiens lineup, based on line rushes during practice on Saturday.

With forward Brandon Prust about to begin serving a two-game suspension for a late hit on New York Rangers center Derek Stepan in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, Bournival was skating on the Canadiens fourth line with Daniel Briere and Dale Weise.

Bouillon was skating in Nathan Beaulieu's spot on the third defense pairing next to Mike Weaver. Beaulieu played one shift in the third period and overtime of Montreal's 3-2 win in Game 3 on Thursday.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.24.2014 / 5:34 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Miller excited about opportunity in Game 4

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller has already experienced the Stanley Cup Playoffs this month, playing in Game 3 of the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He's not sure how that experience will help him if he plays Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens.

"If I'm in, it's obviously Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final, and I never played on a stage like this," Miller said. "I have to make sure I calm my nerves if I get the chance, make sure I'm just ready to play and try to take it like a normal game even though it's such a higher stage."

With Rangers coach Alain Vigneault saying it's "unlikely" that Derek Stepan will be in the lineup after having surgery on Friday to repair a broken jaw, Miller is expected to play in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Friday, 05.23.2014 / 7:06 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Animosity growing between Rangers and Canadiens

NEW YORK -- The Montreal Canadiens had their reason to be upset, and now the New York Rangers do as well. The animosity in the Eastern Conference Final between these two Original Six teams is now a two-way street.

With the announcement Friday that Rangers center Derek Stepan will be out indefinitely with a broken jaw due to a hit from Canadiens forward Brandon Prust, the feeling that the opposing team took out a top player in the series is being felt by both teams.

Montreal goaltender Carey Price was ruled out of the series prior to Game 2 when he sustained a knee injury after Rangers forward Chris Kreider collided with him in Game 1.


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Posted On Friday, 05.23.2014 / 6:47 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens know they have to improve in Game 4

NEW YORK -- The Montreal Canadiens might have won Game 3, but they know they need to play more like they did in Game 2 if they want to tie the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

The Canadiens, down 2-1 in the best-of-7 series, will attempt to do just that in Game 4 on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"There is always room for improvement," center Lars Eller said at the team's hotel Friday. "I'd say the good thing is we came out of there with a win, and we have to be a lot better. We have to improve. We have to be better. It almost seems like the roles were reversed from Game 2 to 3, and the Rangers probably had a lot more scoring chances in Game 3 than we had.

"But at the same time, goal 2 and 3 is a good example of us winning battles in front of the net and getting those ugly goals. We had the chances in Game 2, but we didn't win the battles in front of the net, both in front of our net. Yesterday in front of [goaltender Henrik] Lundqvist's net, we were able to win those battles. I think that made the difference [Thursday]."


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Posted On Friday, 05.23.2014 / 4:44 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers figuring out Canadiens' Tokarski as they go

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin paused for a few seconds after he was asked if Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski has surprised him and his teammates in any way in the Eastern Conference Final.

"Not really," he said.

Interesting, considering the Rangers had not faced Tokarski this season before Game 2. Tokarski played three NHL games this season and had 10 regular-season games on his resume before making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut on Monday at Bell Centre.

"We knew who he was before, just never played against him," Hagelin said. "But he's been good at every level he's played at. We know any goalie in this League is going to be a good goalie."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.22.2014 / 8:02 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Vanek on fourth line for Canadiens in Game 3

NEW YORK -- Montreal Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek was demoted to the fourth line at the beginning of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series 2-0.

Vanek has five goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs but scored them in three games. He has no points and one shot on goal in two games against the Rangers. He has no points and two shots on goal in his past three games.


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Posted On Thursday, 05.22.2014 / 2:15 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Therrien hints at changes to Canadiens lineup

NEW YORK -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien has gone through the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs refusing to answer any questions about his lineup.

In light of that, what would appear like an innocuous answer to a question Thursday could in fact be quite revealing about his intentions for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

Therrien was asked if he planned to make any changes to his lineup following an optional morning skate, and for the first time in a long time he did not refuse to answer.

"There might be," he said.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.22.2014 / 1:55 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens' Pacioretty grew up idolizing Rangers

NEW YORK -- Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty has had his share of memorable moments in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He scored each of Montreal's series-winning goals, against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round and the Boston Bruins in the second round.

But Pacioretty is the first person to admit that some of his oldest and most enduring playoff memories took place at Madison Square Garden long before he was selected by Montreal in the 2007 NHL Draft.

The U.S. Olympian couldn't help but share some of them as he prepared to play the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday at MSG (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

A Rangers fan growing up in New Canaan, Conn., Pacioretty was inspired to play hockey by New York's run to a Stanley Cup championship in 1994. Pacioretty was 5 years old at the time and his father, Raymond, was a longtime Rangers fan.

"I remember watching the 1994 Stanley Cup from my home. That's when it kind of took off that I wanted to be a hockey player," Pacioretty said. "Right around the age that I started [playing]."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.22.2014 / 12:08 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Brassard not expected to play in Game 3

NEW YORK -- After saying in English on Thursday that forward Derick Brassard remained day-to-day with an upper-body injury, New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault sounded far more certain when he discussed Brassard's status in French.

Speaking with French reporters, Vigneault said he did not think Brassard would play against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

"I would say right now I think no," Vigneault said in French when asked about Brassard's status for Game 3.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.21.2014 / 7:27 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Tokarski impressed Canadiens with composure

NEW YORK -- Montreal Canadiens forward Daniel Briere has seen a lot in his 17 NHL seasons, but even he admits he's never seen anything quite like the meteoric ascent of goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

The longtime minor-league goaltender was plucked from obscurity and dropped onto hockey's biggest stage after Montreal starter Carey Price was injured in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in Game 2 against the New York Rangers on Monday, Tokarski impressed his teammates by making 27 saves in a 3-1 loss. But it was his poise and calmness in the face of intense pressure that won over the Montreal locker room.

"I thought he reacted well. He seemed comfortable. He made the saves that he had to make," Canadiens forward Daniel Briere said Wednesday. "He didn't seem too nervous. I'm sure on the inside he was. I would have been. He seemed in control."


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.21.2014 / 6:54 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens goalie Tokarski to start Game 3

Goaltender Dustin Tokarski will start for the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Final series against the New York Rangers on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), according to coach Michel Therrien.

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

Tokarski made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in Game 2, starting in place of injured Carey Price. The 24-year-old allowed three goals on 30 shots in a 3-1 loss.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.21.2014 / 4:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers backup Talbot marveling over Lundqvist

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers goalie Cam Talbot couldn't name something specific that has changed in teammate Henrik Lundqvist since the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Well, maybe one thing.

"He has risen to a new level since Game 5 of the Pittsburgh Penguins series," Talbot said with a grin.

Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round was the first of what has become five straight victories for the Rangers, during which Lundqvist has allowed six goals. He is 10-6 with a 1.93 goals-against average and NHL-leading .934 save percentage in 16 postseason games.

Game 3 against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Final is Thursday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

"He's the same focused and intense guy in the dressing room; I couldn't pinpoint one thing that he's changed drastically about his game or attitude, other than the fact that he may be more focused when the game is on the line," Talbot said of Lundqvist. "But I think everyone has taken their game to the next level in the playoffs, as has [Lundqvist]."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.21.2014 / 3:00 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers in unfamiliar spot up two games in series

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers lead the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final heading into Game 3 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers were two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final in 2012 when they lost to the New Jersey Devils in six games. But when it comes to being up two games in a series, New York is in unfamiliar territory.

It had been five years since the Rangers led a playoff series by two games. Prior to winning Game 2 against Montreal on Monday, New York had lost 13 straight games after taking a series lead.

"It's been a while. We don't pay too much attention to it," Rangers defenseman Anton Stralman said. "We haven't won the series yet. Obviously being up 2-0 in the series is great, but we're still only halfway there. We have to put a strong foot forward next game. We're just looking one game ahead the whole time."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.21.2014 / 2:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers forward Brassard practices, still day-to-day

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers center Derick Brassard remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will likely be a game-time decision against the Montreal Canadiens for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

Brassard, who missed Game 2 at Bell Centre in Montreal with an injury sustained in the first period of Game 1, was on the ice for the first time in five days on Wednesday practicing with his teammates at MSG. He skated on a line with Mats Zuccarello and J.T. Miller, who was filling in for usual partner Benoit Pouliot (rest).

"Nothing has changed with Derick, he's day-to-day," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.20.2014 / 7:34 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canucks' Bieksa 'cheering for' former coach Vigneault

At least one of Alain Vigneault's former Vancouver Canucks players is rooting for the coach to get back to the Stanley Cup Final.

Defenseman Kevin Bieksa is competing for Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Championship and is aware Vigneault's New York Rangers hold a 2-0 lead on the Montreal Canadiens in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final. Game 3 is Thursday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).


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Posted On Tuesday, 05.20.2014 / 4:19 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Postseason struggles continue for Canadiens' Vanek

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was asked about a few of his players Tuesday, but there was just one he didn't particularly want to talk about.

With the Canadiens taking a day off before preparing to play Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), Therrien held a conference call with reporters to discuss being down 2-0 in the best-of-7 series heading on the road.

He was asked at one point about forward Max Pacioretty, and Therrien spoke of how he has matured into a young leader who has been given greater responsibility and thrived.

He was asked about forward Alex Galchenyuk, who Therrien praised for his ability to adapt to the pace of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a 3-1 loss in Game 2 after missing six weeks with a knee injury.

He was also asked about forward Thomas Vanek, and that's when Therrien suddenly decided he didn't want to discuss individual players.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.20.2014 / 2:50 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Richards, St. Louis lend Cup know-how to Rangers

MONTREAL -- It has been 10 years since Brad Richards won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The New York Rangers center and linemate Martin St. Louis are enjoying passing along that shared experience to their current teammates.

"This whole playoff it's been fun to do that," Richards said Tuesday in the wake of New York taking a 2-0 series lead against the Montreal Canadiens in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final. "When I was in Tampa, Marty also, we didn't really have a clue what we were doing. We were first time through it, we were leaning on other people, older people, asking them all the questions, which I think is a lot easier when you're younger.

"Now you know all the things that can happen, and it's a lot harder. But it's fun to try to gather the group and talk about things. This group has come together so much and they ask a lot of questions. They make fun of us a lot too for doing that, but it's fun to try to help out that way."

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Posted On Monday, 05.19.2014 / 7:51 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Tokarski, Galchenyuk in for Canadiens; Brassard out

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens goaltender Dustin Tokarski will make his first start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Monday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 1-0.

Canadiens starting goaltender Carey Price was ruled out for the remainder of the series Monday morning by coach Michel Therrien. He did not start the third period of a 7-2 loss in Game 1 on Saturday after he was injured in a collision with New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider at 3:15 of the second period.


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Posted On Monday, 05.19.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Kreider pays no mind to Canadiens' remarks

MONTREAL -- New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider has one regret about the play that knocked Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price out of the Eastern Conference Final.

"I wish I would've put it in the net," Kreider said. "Obviously I was trying to score a goal. I put it wide. It was a bang-bang play."

Kreider instead lost his footing and crashed feet-first into Price at 3:15 of the second period in Game 1 on Saturday. Price was slow to get up and was in obvious pain, but after consulting with the Canadiens trainer he stayed in the game.

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Posted On Monday, 05.19.2014 / 1:45 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Brassard skates, status uncertain for Game 2

MONTREAL -- New York Rangers center Derick Brassard participated in the morning skate Monday at Bell Centre but did not take any line rushes and coach Alain Vigneault said his status remains day-to-day.

Brassard was injured early in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday after being hit hard in open ice by Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Weaver. He played two shifts totaling 35 seconds and did not return to the game after leaving 3:06 into the first period.

It's unclear if Brassard will be available for Game 2 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 1-0.

"As far as lineup decisions, I haven't finalized that," Vigneault said. "It's like any other game, you'll find out [Monday] at 8 o'clock when the puck drops."

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Posted On Monday, 05.19.2014 / 1:34 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens' Price to miss rest of conference final

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens were dealt a severe blow in their attempt to reach their first Stanley Cup Final in 21 years.

Canadiens goalie Carey Price will miss the remainder of the Eastern Conference Final with an undisclosed injury, coach Michel Therrien said after the morning skate Monday.

"We need to rally around Carey," Therrien said. "We need to give him a chance to keep playing this season."

Peter Budaj was the first goalie off the ice at the Canadiens' morning skate but Therrien refused to confirm that he will start Game 2 at Bell Centre (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 1-0.

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Posted On Monday, 05.19.2014 / 1:22 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers' sole focus is their game plan

MONTREAL -- The news of Carey Price's injury and that Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said the goalie won't play again in the Eastern Conference Final spread through the New York Rangers as they were on the ice at Bell Centre on Monday morning, going through their preparations for Game 2 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

At the end of the practice the Rangers players huddled in the corner to the right of the visiting goal as their five coaches on the ice stayed at center ice. The message was that just because Price is out doesn't mean the Rangers can change the way they play or get caught being overconfident against the Canadiens just because veteran backup Peter Budaj or untested rookie Dustin Tokarski will be in the net Monday night.

The Rangers won 7-2 in Game 1, but they are winless in their past 13 games after grabbing a lead in a best-of-7 series, including 0-4 this season. The last time they won a game after taking a lead was Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals.

New York blew a 3-1 lead in that series and lost in seven.

"In our last couple series we've won the first game and didn't take advantage of going out and winning another one, so it was about making sure that we up the ante, play a better game and focus on what we need to do," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. "You've got to score goals the same way; get to the net, do all those types of things. That won't change with Price being out."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.18.2014 / 5:20 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers' speed a big factor in Game 1 victory

MONTREAL -- The New York Rangers aren't sure if they surprised the Montreal Canadiens with their speed in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

"I can't answer to what they were expecting from us," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.

Even if it were true, the Canadiens won't admit that they underestimated the Rangers' speed.

"No, it's a bad game," Montreal forward Brandon Prust said.

That goes without saying when you lose 7-2, as the Canadiens did Saturday, but they lost by that margin in large part because the Rangers' overall team speed seemed to overwhelm them, if not surprise them.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.18.2014 / 1:24 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens' Price skates, but status uncertain

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien would not confirm Sunday that goaltender Carey Price will play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Monday.

Price skated for approximately five minutes prior to practice Sunday before leaving the ice.

"Carey had a therapy day," Therrien said. "We'll see if he can play the game tomorrow."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.17.2014 / 6:10 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Brassard leaves Game 1 with injury

MONTREAL -- New York Rangers center Derick Brassard was described as day-to-day by coach Alain Vigneault following a 7-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Bell Centre.

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series with Game 2 on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Brassard played two shifts totaling 35 seconds in Game 1. He left the game and did not return after Montreal defenseman Mike Weaver connected on an open-ice, shoulder-to-shoulder hit on Brassard's left side at 3:03 of the first period.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.17.2014 / 5:20 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Price sits out third period; Canadiens say he's OK

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price did not start the third period of a 7-2 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Saturday, but coach Michel Therrien said the move was not related to an injury.

Price appeared to injure his right knee at 3:15 of the second period in a collision with Rangers forward Chris Kreider, who was knocked slightly off-balance as he rushed in on goal and slammed into Price's right leg. Price remained down for a few moments clutching at his right knee but quickly got up and skated.

Therrien said he did not believe Kreider slammed into Price intentionally.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.17.2014 / 12:53 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers, Canadiens keep same lineups for Game 1

MONTREAL -- The New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens will ice the same lineups that they used in their respective Game 7s earlier this week when they meet in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Bell Centre on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

This is the 15th time the Canadiens and Rangers are meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the first time since 1996.

Canadiens goalie Carey Price is 4-1-0 with three shutouts and a .986 save percentage in his past five appearances against the Rangers.

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Posted On Friday, 05.16.2014 / 4:28 PM

By Dan Rosen and Arpon Basu -  NHL.com Staff Writers /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers coach calls Canadiens 'the favorites'

GREENBURGH, N.Y -- The question referenced preparation and nerves, if he feels any of them on the eve of the Eastern Conference Final, but New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault saw it as an opportunity to basically speak directly to the Montreal Canadiens.

"I know they went into the Boston series saying they felt Boston didn't respect them," Vigneault said. "We respect Montreal quite a bit."

So much so that Vigneault referred to the Canadiens as "the favorites," and added Montreal is "rightfully expected to win." He even said he's watched most of Montreal's 11 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs but "hasn't found anything yet that I can grasp, put my hand on as far as try and exploit against this team yet."

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Posted On Friday, 05.16.2014 / 3:37 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Canadiens' Galchenyuk practices, not ready for games

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Injured Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk took part in his first practice Friday since being cleared for contact a day earlier, but he is not ready for game action.

The Canadiens will play the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Bell Centre on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Galchenyuk skated on a line with scratches Ryan White and George Parros at practice Friday.

"I have a couple of more steps to go and I should be good," Galchenyuk said Friday after putting in some extra time after practice with the Canadiens scratches.

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Posted On Friday, 05.16.2014 / 3:30 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers' Brassard ready for Quebec homecoming

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- When New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard suits up against the Montreal Canadiens in the 2014 Eastern Conference Final, he'll have plenty of friends and family watching. But the Quebec native admits that more than a few of them will be rooting against him.

A native of Gatineau, Quebec, Brassard grew up in the thick of Habs Nation, with the Canadiens revered throughout his hometown. It speaks to the place the franchise holds in the province, especially considering Brassard's hometown is about one mile east of Ottawa and about 120 miles from Montreal.

Despite that proximity to the Ottawa Senators, Brassard grew up with constant reminders of the team that now stands between him and the Stanley Cup Final.

"Where I grew up, everyone is a Habs fan," Brassard said. "I grew up watching the games. I have some real good friends who are cheering for the Canadiens right now, so it's a little different."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 3:48 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers have changed since past conference final trip

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- For the second time in three seasons the New York Rangers will play in the Eastern Conference Final. Game 1 of the series will be Saturday in Montreal (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

It's an impressive feat for any team, but there are few similarities between this year's team that will play the Montreal Canadiens and the one eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in six games in the 2012 conference final.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.15.2014 / 2:45 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Rangers will attend St. Louis' mother's funeral Sunday

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers will attend the funeral of France St. Louis on Sunday in Montreal, the day after opening the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens in the city.

St. Louis, the mother of Rangers forward Martin St. Louis, died of a heart attack last week at age 63. The forward learned of the news when the Rangers arrived in Pittsburgh the day before Game 5 of the second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and immediately flew to Montreal to be with his family. He rejoined the Rangers the next day and played in Game 5. With his father, Normand, and sister, Isabelle, in attendance, St. Louis scored the first goal in New York's 3-1 Game 6 win at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

"Marty's [mother's] funeral was supposed to be Saturday. We couldn't move the time of the game, so Marty being who he is was able to move the funeral to Sunday," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "So Sunday, as a team, we'll be able to attend his mother's funeral."

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Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie