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Rangers can secure first trip to Cup Final since '94

by Sean Farrell


(New York leads best-of-7 series 3-1)


Big story: The New York Rangers are one win from reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20 years.

New York, which won the Cup in 1994, outscored the Canadiens 10-3 in the first two games at Bell Centre before splitting two overtime games at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers are aware how the Canadiens will feel facing an end to their season.

"We've done nothing yet and we keep reminding ourselves, we understand the fourth game is the toughest one to win and we know we're going to have to bring our best and more," Rangers forward Martin St. Louis said Monday.

The Rangers overcame a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

"Obviously at that point our backs were against the wall," St. Louis said. "We had come off Game 3, where I felt we probably played one of our better games, and I think we got shut out 3-0, and the following game we weren't very good at all. I think Game 3 was very deflating, and you felt it in Game 4, and now our backs were against the wall and it's at a time where you can't worry about yesterday, you can't worry about Game 6, you've just got to take care of Game 5, get in the battle and get going. We've done a really good job at staying even keel and I think it's helped us moving forward."

Team Scope:

Rangers: New York was shorthanded eight times Sunday and allowed one power-play goal. Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban tied the game 2-2 two minutes into the third period. Forward Benoit Pouliot took a penalty 30 seconds into overtime, but St. Louis scored the game-winner at 6:02.

"You know as a coach, players bring different elements, and Benny plays on the edge a lot of times and he hits a lot and he forechecks," coach Alain Vigneault said Monday. "Sometimes they walk that fine line and sometimes, like last night, unfortunately his first penalty was totally accidental. His second one, I could go either way on that one in overtime there, so you've got to live with that.

"Just like sometimes, your more-skilled players, you know, right before Marty scores his goal he turns it over. One of the reasons why they're good players is they play on the edge and they try certain things, and you can't take those things away from them. You've just got to encourage them to do it at the right time."

Canadiens: Montreal has come back from a 3-1 series deficit twice, including in 2010 against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals. Left wing Rene Bourque took the temperature of the Canadiens dressing room following the overtime loss Sunday.

"I think guys were just trying to stay positive," Bourque said Monday. "I thought we played well. We had chances to put it away and it didn't go in and St. Louis got that, he scored on a great shot, kind of hung back there in the zone, but we know we can play with them and just hopefully tomorrow night, we've got to win three games in a row and it starts tomorrow.

"So I think that everybody believes that we can do it, it's just a matter of going out there and executing. Look what [the Los Angeles Kings] did in the first round (coming back from 3-0 to eliminate the San Jose Sharks). You know it's definitely possible for us to do it and we believe we can do it. It sounds like a lot, but I think the guys in here believe if we play like we can, we can do it."

Goalie Dustin Tokarski is expected to make his fourth straight start for injured Carey Price, who skated in full equipment Tuesday as part of the rehab for his suspected right-knee injury. Forward Brandon Prust will serve the second of his two-game NHL suspension for his hit on former teammate Derek Stepan in Game 3.

Who's hot: St. Louis has a six-game point streak (4-3-7), including three goals and two assists in the four games against Montreal. Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh has two goals and five assists in the series. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist tied Mike Richter's Rangers record for playoff wins with his 41st Sunday. ... Bourque has a goal and two assists in the series. Subban's power-play goal Sunday was his first point in six games; he leads the Canadiens with 13.

Injury report: Stepan (broken jaw) made the trip to Montreal and took part in the morning skate Tuesday, but needed medical clearance to play. Rangers forward J.T. Miller (upper body) was injured in Game 4 and did not travel. ... Price is out for the series.

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