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Rangers Bounce Back for Game 4 Win Over Habs at The Garden

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers spoke about the need of getting back to playing their style of game prior to Game 4 against the Canadiens. They did. It worked.

New York edged the Canadiens, 2-1, Tuesday at Madison Square Garden to even their best-of-seven series with Montreal, 2-2.

Game 5 is Wednesday night in Montreal.

The Rangers utilized their speed and forecheck throughout the game, something several players said was lacking in Sunday's 3-1 loss in Game 3. That wasn't the case, Tuesday.

"We really were just taking what was given and having a little poise with the puck," said Ryan McDonagh, who had an assist on Rick Nash's game-winning goal in the second period. "Taking that ice in front of us if it was there and if not, moving it behind them and really pressuring the whole length of the ice trying to not give them a lot of time to make their plays."

The Rangers were in a similar situation as Game 2, up a goal heading into the third period. But rather than sit on the lead, the Blueshirts kept pressure all period and limited Montreal to just six shots in the final frame.

"After Game 2 I talked about how we sat back too much. I thought we were on our toes all third period and it allowed us to stay tight to them and not let them come flying through," said Derek Stepan. "They did get some looks, but we were able to get the job done."

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm4: Fast buries a backhand to open scoring

Jesper Fast opened the scoring 11:39 into the game when he scooped up a misplayed puck by Andrei Markov in the Canadiens' corner. Fast drove to the net and tucked a backhand between the legs of Carey Price for his first goal of the playoffs.

Montreal would tie the game before the end of the first. Alexander Radulov won a puck battle near the Rangers bench and hit Andrew Shaw, who broke in on a 2-on-1 with Torrey Mitchell, who beat Henrik Lundqvist.

Both the Rangers and Canadiens had six skaters on the ice, though both referees and each linesman missed the infractions.

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm4: Nash slides puck home from the doorstep

Nash would put the Rangers ahead for good 4:28 into the period when McDonagh hit him on the side of the net with a hard pass. The winger stepped around a poke check from Price and slid the puck between his pads to give the Rangers the 2-1 lead they would not surrender.

"It was a great play by Ryan McDonagh to find me going to the net," Nash said. "I was trying to go to the net all night and trying to cause some chaos."

New York controlled the play in the third period but it was not without Montreal chances. Mats Zuccarello blocked a shot by Markov with Lundqvist fighting through traffic and out of the net with about 13 minutes remaining in the game. 

Luck was on New York's side, as defenseman Shea Weber also hit a post with less than two minutes remaining in the contest.

Video: MTL@NYR, Gm4: Lundqvist robs Gallagher's tip-in try

Despite those chances, Lundqvist's stellar play continued in Game 4, as he finished with 23 saves on the night.

"We needed our best effort tonight and we got it," said Lundqvist, who has a 1.89 GAA and a .944 SV% thus far in the series. "All 20 guys worked extremely hard. We had jump from the get-go, we created more chances. Montreal had some good chances in the first, but after that we controlled the game.  

"But as long as it's a one-goal game you never know - a bad bounce or a good play by them and it's a tied game," Lundqvist added. "I think the patience we showed and the confidence in the situation was great to see."

Stepan said there was no panic inside the Rangers dressing room prior to the game, but there was certainly more urgency than 48 hours prior. Lundqvist said the team met about having a strong bounce back game off of Game 3, but that actions spoke louder than words.

"It's one thing to have all these meetings and talk about it and it's another to actually go out and do it," Lundqvist said. "I felt like we had good energy in the room and we believed we could do this. We felt like we had to play our best here to get this win and go back to Montreal with a tied series.  

"It's exciting," he continued. "They're a good team and they came close again. But I am really happy and proud of the way the guys came together tonight and played their best."

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