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Tanner Glass of Rangers savors playoff chance

Physical forward happy to contribute for New York, which can expand series lead against Canadiens in Game 2

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Tanner Glass is savoring every moment of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the New York Rangers are glad.

Glass, who was recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League on March 5, scored the game-winning goal in a 2-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Bell Centre on Wednesday.

 

[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs. Canadiens series coverage]

 

Game 2 is at Bell Centre on Friday (7 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports, MSG).

Scoring an important goal gave Glass an opportunity to appreciate how many people are behind him in keeping his NHL dream alive.

"You realize all the support you have from all corners of the world," Glass said after practice Thursday. "Friends from school, friends from home, different teams I've been on, trainers, all the people that are still following the game that have become friends along the way that reach out is really special. I'm just trying to enjoy every minute."

Glass played for Rangers coach Alain Vigneault with the Vancouver Canucks when they went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

"He's an honest player," Vigneault said. "He's a player with limited abilities but he shows up and works really hard, he knows hockey and he uses his qualities. What we saw [Wednesday], the physical play and his involvement in the defensive zone, that's him, and on top of that he was able to score the goal that made the difference."

The goal was the second for Glass in 61 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He has 69 points (24 goals, 45 assists) and 639 penalty minutes in 511 regular-season games with the Rangers, Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers.

"I'm really happy for him," said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 31 saves for his 10th playoff shutout. "He worked really hard to get back in the lineup and he's doing a great job."

Waived by the Rangers at the end of training camp, Glass was in the minors to begin this season after spending most of last season with Hartford.

"It was tough because the message was not really that I wasn't doing my job kind of thing, it was more that the organization was going to go a different way and try that way," Glass said. "So it was tough knowing that it was out of my control. But at the same time, there are a lot of good players and it's a privilege to play in the NHL and it made me really realize to cherish every day that I'm here."

Video: NYR@MTL, Gm1: Glass picks the corner off a faceoff

Although it was a challenge at times, Glass held on to his faith that he would return to the NHL.

"That was the plan," Glass said. "I went down [to the AHL] with the belief that I'm an NHL player and that I can contribute in this league. I'd be lying if I said that it was always easy to believe that, and I didn't waver at all, but I believe in myself and I had a great support system. My wife and two young children made it easy to come home from the rink, and family life was good, and home life was great, so I'm lucky."

Rangers forward J.T. Miller said Glass, 33, has always been a popular and well-respected teammate.

"Everybody understands that he does a job that most of us don't want to do and he does it really well, so we're really thankful to have him back," Miller said. "And for him to step in and play Game 1 of the playoffs and play the way he did, everybody recognizes that and it leads in a way that people look up to, so for him to have the game-winning goal (Wednesday) night is pretty fitting."

Canadiens forward Steve Ott took note of the significance of Glass' rare offensive contribution.

"That's a great testament to him," Ott said Wednesday after the game. "He's a hard-nosed player, he's always been an honest guy, and when you have an honest guy like that that chips in, there's obviously a reason they thought they needed him in the lineup and he scores a big goal for them."

Glass wouldn't expect to hear Ott say that on the ice, but he acknowledged that his return to the NHL has been noted by a number of his opponents.

"I've got a few of those nods through the last 10, 15 games here that I've been up and guys that are happy to see me back, but maybe they're just words because when you get out there it doesn't seem like there's a lot of love lost between us," Glass said. "But I respect the physical guys in this league, of course, and the guys that have kind of gone through the wars, especially the guys who are getting old. I guess 30-plus is old now in this league, but hockey players are a special bunch and there's a lot of respect between us."

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