NEW YORK -- Rick Nash broke a tie early in the second period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves to help the New York Rangers defeat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 at Montreal on Thursday.
Jesper Fast scored for the Rangers, who had lost six consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff games at home.
[WATCH: All Rangers vs. Canadiens highlights | RELATED: Complete New York vs. Montreal series coverage]
"It was our best home game [of the series], for sure," Nash said. "It was a tough couple of days after Game 3 (a 3-1 loss on Sunday), and we knew we needed to come with a good effort. I still think the third period could be a bit better, we could create more. But you've got to give them a little credit too. They came hard."
Torrey Mitchell scored for Montreal, which nearly tied the game when Shea Weber's slap shot from the left point hit the goal post with 1:18 remaining. Carey Price made 30 saves.
"They were desperate tonight," Price said. "They executed a pretty good game plan. You have to give that team credit; they played well tonight."
Video: MTL@NYR, Gm4: Fast buries a backhand to open scoring
Fast gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 11:39 of the first period. Brady Skjei sent the puck around the boards and it deflected off the stick of Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov stick in front to Fast, who poked the puck between Price's pads for his first goal of the playoffs.
"I think we just forced passes tonight," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "We weren't as good tonight as we were [Sunday] night. I thought that we were forcing things more than just managing the puck better, and that resulted in a lot of icings. Same thing on the faceoffs; we had a lot of draws on our own hand, so we needed to manage the puck better tonight."
Montreal tied it 1-1 with 1:23 left in the first period when Mitchell scored his first of the playoffs.
Goal of the game
Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh kept the puck in the offensive zone from the blue line and found Nash cutting to the net, where he backhanded a shot past Price at 4:28 of the second period to make it 2-1. It was Nash's second goal of the playoffs.
"I saw a hole to the net right away," Nash said. "I haven't seen the replay; I don't know if I beat the guy off the wall or if he kind of cheated out, I'm not sure. But right away, I thought I had a lane. Once I took to my backhand, I saw the five-hole kind of open up."
Video: MTL@NYR, Gm4: Nash slides puck home from the doorstep
Save of the game
Alex Galchenyuk made a pass through the neutral zone to send Andrew Shaw in on a breakaway, but Lundqvist stood his ground and managed to get his glove on Shaw's wrist shot with 9:11 remaining in the first period. Fast scored less than one minute later.
Video: MTL@NYR, Gm4: Lundqvist stones Shaw's breakaway
Highlight of the game
Alexander Radulov won a puck battle against Skjei at the Rangers blue line and made a no-look backhand pass to set up Mitchell and Weber on a 2-on-1. Mitchell one-timed Weber's pass from the left circle past Lundqvist.
Video: MTL@NYR, Gm4: Mitchell scores on smooth give-and-go
Unsung performance of the game
Rangers forward J.T. Miller blocked three shots, had two hits and two takeaways in 15:38 of ice time.
They said it
"Two of the best goalies in the League going head to head. I know that they were frustrated, especially last game. We got a little bit frustrated. The team that stays even-keeled and just worries about that next shot is the team that normally ends up on top. We've got to do a better job of sticking with it, sticking with the system, and trusting it when you're down. We need to trust that our shots will go in." -- Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty
"We knew we had to respond as a group, and that's what this group did tonight and has proved that in the past. I thought we talked about managing the puck better, I thought we managed the puck better tonight. We had a better game. We were able to give ourselves an opportunity; it's a two out of three, and that's what we wanted." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault
"When we play to our strengths, it gives us a chance to win. It doesn't mean it's going to happen every time, but we've got to give ourselves a chance. By doing that, playing with pace and playing in their face, that's going to give us a chance." -- Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh
Need to know
New York was 0-for-2 on the power play and is 0-for-12 in the series. Montreal was 0-for-3. … Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich played his first Stanley Cup Playoff game. Tanner Glass was a healthy scratch. Defenseman Nick Holden played after being a healthy scratch for Game 3. He replaced Kevin Klein. ... New York last won a home playoff game on May 16, 2015, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Game 5 of Eastern Conference First Round at Bell Centre on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports, MSG)
Video: Lundqvist leads Rangers past Habs, 2-1, in Game 4