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game recap

Rangers eliminate Canadiens with Game 6 win

Mats Zuccarello scores twice to put New York into second round

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- Mats Zuccarello scored two goals for the New York Rangers in a series-ending 3-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

New York won the best-of-7 series 4-2 and will play either the Ottawa Senators or Boston Bruins in the second round.


[WATCH: All Canadiens vs. Rangers highlights | RELATED: Complete New York vs. Montreal series coverage]


Derek Stepan scored an empty-net goal, and Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves for the Rangers, including 10 in the first period. Lundqvist allowed 11 goals in the six games.

"It was a good-fought series there, a tough one," Zuccarello said. "Montreal played great, a tough team to play against. They made it hard for us, but we have a tough team in here. [Lundqvist] is unbelievable and we stick together. Our [defensemen], they play unbelievable. They block shots, they stand up every hit, and it's amazing to have those guys behind us. The way that [Dan Girardi], [Ryan McDonagh], [Marc Staal] and those guys step up and take a hit, make a play and block some shots, it's inspiring for us forwards."

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm6: Lundqvist snares Weber's slapper

Alexei Emelin scored for Montreal, which held a 2-1 series lead before losing three in a row, including 3-2 in overtime in Game 5 on Thursday. Carey Price made 20 saves.

"It was a close series, so the undoing is probably the fact that it ended up that they scored more goals than us because they were all one-goal games in all of the wins," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "We tried everything we could to score and we face a goaltender that is probably, without a doubt, their best player, and we couldn't manage to get those goals.

"It wasn't from lack of trying. We looked at our scoring chances and we looked at it after games and we probably had more than the other team, but they made the most out of theirs. The undoing was the fact that we probably needed a little luck to go with our efforts, and those two combined sometimes gives you the breaks that you're looking for. It was a tough series, but it was a series where I really thought our players worked hard and competed as hard as they could."

Zuccarello tied it 1-1 when he scored the Rangers' first power-play goal of the series at 2:26 of the second period. With Jordie Benn in the penalty box for holding, Zuccarello took a shot from the right circle that squeaked past Price short-side.

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm6: Zuccarello beats Price for PPG

"It was a good play," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We had come close and got their goalie there cheating a little bit and we were able to put that one in. Obviously that gave us some momentum."

Zuccarello scored his second of the game later in the second period, and Stepan scored an empty-net goal with 18 seconds remaining for a 3-1 lead.

Ottawa leads Boston 3-2 with Game 6 of their series on Sunday.


Goal of the game

Zuccarello gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead when he scored at 13:31 of the second period. He took a cross-ice feed from Kevin Hayes and one-timed it past Price from the right circle.

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm6: Zuccarello slams home Hayes' feed

Save of the game

Lundqvist protected a 2-1 lead with 1:43 remaining in the third period when he made a pad save against Tomas Plekanec, who was in front of the crease to receive a pass from Brian Flynn.

"I knew I was in trouble because I wasn't in good position on the first play and then he threw it at me," Lundqvist said. "My first thought was 'Don't knock it in,' and then it ends up right on his stick. It was just a desperation save. Luckily, he didn't put it far corner. It was just a quick play. I knew with two minutes to go it was going to be one or two more saves, and if I could come up with those we were going to be in good shape."

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm6: Lundqvist uses pad for clutch save

Highlight of the game

Emelin gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead 6:19 into the first period when Alexander Radulov managed to send the puck from his knees behind the net into the slot, where Emelin put a wrist shot past Lundqvist for his first goal since Jan. 14.

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm6: Emelin buries first career playoff goal

Unsung performance of the game

Girardi blocked four shots and had two hits and two shots on goal in 20:26. He had an assist on Stepan's goal.

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm6: Stepan pads lead with long empty-netter

They said it

"I said it before the playoffs started, I felt like this was our best chance that we've had. I like this team so much, I like what we brought up on the lineup. We just didn't get the job done. It's disappointing obviously, but take it for what it is -- a learning experience -- and hopefully we will get another opportunity at it." -- Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher


"It's three pretty good games in a row. But we still had a tough Game 3 (a 3-1 loss) and some spurts where we weren't our best. But we beat a very good team and a very fast team with one of the best goalies in the world. It's a good job by us." -- Rangers forward Rick Nash


Need to know

The Canadiens played without forward Andrew Shaw, who sustained an upper-body injury in Game 5. ... The Rangers power play was 0-for-14 prior to Zuccarello's goal. ... The Rangers have won 15 of their past 18 home games when they've had a chance to close a playoff series.


What's next

Canadiens: Season over

Rangers: Eastern Conference Second Round, TBD


Video: Zuccarello's goals help Rangers advance in 3-1 win

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