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Lundqvist Shuts Out Habs in Game 1 Victory

Rangers Take Series Lead With 2-0 Win

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

MONTREAL -- The goal of any team starting a playoff series on the road is to win at least one game in enemy territory.

The New York Rangers did just that with a 2-0 Game 1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night at Bell Centre.

Henrik Lundqvist dazzled in making 31 saves for his franchise-leading 10th career postseason shutout.

"You know the importance and the urgency goes up and the desperation goes up," Lundqvist said. "I had butterflies for two days. I've been thinking about this for almost every hour for the past week about the start and get going. You're anxious and nervous and excited at the same time. It's just nice to get going. There's so much inside you that you want to get going and test yourself."

Tanner Glass and Michael Grabner provided the offense for the Rangers, who have now won six of their seven playoff games at Bell Centre.

"It's extremely important [to take the first game]," said Glass, who's backhander 9:50 into the game beat Carey Price and held up for the winner. "You know coming into a tough building like this that it's going to be a tough first period, which it was for us."

Tough it was, as the Canadiens came out firing with eight of the game's first 10 shots on goal.

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

But Glass' goal was able to lower the volume of the deafening crowd and help to reset the Rangers a bit the rest of the contest. 

"A lot of anxious butterflies and excitement just to find our game, find our reads out there," said captain Ryan McDonagh. "Certainly a goal really settled the team down and really helped us to get back to the focus of making the plays we need to make."

In a role reversal of sorts it was the Rangers who came out hot in the second period, registering 10 of the first 12 shots of the frame, but could not convert. The Rangers had a prime opportunity to go up two late in the period with a 57-second two-man advantage, but were stymied by Price and the Habs.

Video: NYR@MTL, Gm1: Lundqvist stones Weber with shoulder

In the end it did not matter, as Lundqvist and the defense stood tall over the final 20 minutes in limiting the Canadiens to just six shots on goal before Grabner's empty-netter with 1:10 remaining iced in the visitor's favor.

New York clinched its playoff berth on March 28 in San Jose, and have spent the last three weeks fine-tuning their games in preparation for tonight while also utilizing that time to rest several players.

Lundqvist said it's easier said than done to get back to a high-level of play, but that he and his teammates were able to do that in Game 1.

"It's not easy to go out in your first game and execute," Lundqvist admitted. "We did and started off on the right foot."

The road victory in Game 1 is crucial, but that's all it is: one game.

A core group of these Rangers have been to two Eastern Conference Finals and a Stanley Cup Final since 2012, and know the series is long from over despite the early advantage. 

"You enjoy it tonight but it means nothing tomorrow," said Derek Stepan. "It's a race to four and the only one that really matters is that fourth one. Our group is real happy with the way Game 1 went, but again, we're looking towards Game 2."

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