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NY Rangers Face Montreal Canadiens In Eastern Finals

(NHL) The New York Rangers will face the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals, after winning game 7 against the Penguins…

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 35 shots and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, rallying from a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in franchise history.

Brian Boyle and Brad Richards scored for the Rangers last night at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center. New York returns to the National Hockey League conference finals for the second time in the past three years, after losing to the New Jersey Devils in six games in 2012.

Lundqvist, 32, and the Rangers were outshot 13-7 in the final period and survived a wild final few minutes in which the Penguins put almost constant pressure on the New York goalie.

“He was OK with guys being on top of him as long as we didn’t take penalties,” New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh told reporters. “He fought through screens, fought for loose pucks. He was incredible.”

Lundqvist, who was fined $5,000 two days ago for squirting water on Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, became the first goalie in NHL history to win five consecutive Game 7s.

“It’s about our team showing up for those games,” Lundqvist said in a television interview. “I do my part, but they have to do theirs. That’s been the case the last few years.”

Boyle scored five minutes, 25 seconds into the game, completing a three-on-one rush. Jussi Jokinen tied the game on his seventh goal of this postseason with 4:15 gone in the second period, only to have Richards score less than four minutes later on a power play to give New York back the lead.

Game 1 between NY Rangers and Montreal Canadiens begins on Saturday at the Bell Centre. This will be the first time the two clubs meet in a playoff series since 1996, when the Rangers dispatched the Canadiens in six games during the first round of the postseason. 

Looks like the Habs will have home-ice advantage and that I’m sure doesn’t sit well with the Rangers.

New York has been atrocious at the Bell Centre in recent years, a troublesome eight-game losing streak that was ended when backup  Cam Talbot recorded his first NHL shutout back on Nov. 16.

Prior to that, the Rangers had been shutout five times in eight games against the Habs in hostile territory. 

The Rangers have made the playoffs in eight of the past nine years. The team hasn’t advanced to the Stanley Cup finals since winning the league title in 1994. 


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