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Rangers move within 1 win of Stanley Cup finals

St. Louis' OT Goal Lifts Rangers


By IRA PODELL
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Henrik Lundqvist earned his 41st career playoff victory and his first postseason point with an assist.

The only number that mattered late Sunday night was the one win the New York Rangers need to reach the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in 20 years.

"You just have to keep the same mindset that you had for the first four or five games, and the last series. You don't change anything," Lundqvist said after the Rangers' 3-2 overtime victory gave them a 3-1 lead against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals. "You don't think about what's ahead. You're just going in and trying to do your job."

The Rangers know firsthand just how quickly a 3-1 series lead can evaporate. They dug out of that hole in the previous round against Pittsburgh.

A win Tuesday in Montreal will put New York in the championship round for the first time since they won the title in 1994. A loss will make Game 6 necessary at what will be a nervous Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

"I look forward to that challenge," Lundqvist said of the return to Montreal, where the Rangers won the first two games of the series. "It's exciting to know you're one game away. You have to motivate yourself to get to a level where you're helping the team.

"That's pretty good motivation right there."

Martin St. Louis has been providing inspiration on and off the ice in recent times, particularly since the unexpected death of his mother the day after the Rangers fell behind the Penguins 3-1.

St. Louis tended to family responsibilities for a day before rejoining his teammates in Pittsburgh for Game 5.

The Rangers, who attended the funeral for St. Louis' mother near Montreal in between Games 1 and 2 of this series, were galvanized as they rallied around their grieving teammate.

New York is 6-1 since her passing, and the latest win came 6:02 into overtime on Sunday when St. Louis netted his sixth goal of the playoffs.

"I had some decent looks," St. Louis said. "The puck bounced a couple of times. You just have to concentrate on your next opportunity. You get this far, you have to trust yourself. That's what I try to do, and I was fortunate."

He has 10 career postseason winning goals and 39 overall. He hadn't scored in a playoff overtime since Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup finals when he was with Tampa Bay.

Less than three months since being acquired by the Rangers, he is providing memorable moments that could lead to another championship. St. Louis has a six-game point streak - with four goals and three assists - and three goals in this series.

"He has been great for us ever since he got here," said forward Carl Hagelin, who also scored his sixth playoff goal. "He shows a lot of tenacity and emotion every time he steps on the ice."

The Rangers rebounded from a home overtime loss on Thursday by outlasting the Canadiens, who carried much of the play over the final two periods. New York didn't want to return to Montreal all even, even though it won the opening two games of the series there.

"It would have been devastating to go back there without getting one at home," forward Brad Richards said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but I'd rather it be 3-1 than 2-2. It was a very emotional time when we saw that go in."

A loose puck came to St. Louis, alone in the right circle, and he fired a snap shot over goalie Dustin Tokarski's shoulder. That gave the Rangers the win after they squandered a pair of one-goal leads.

"St. Louis had some time and picked a corner on me," Tokarski said. "It's a game of inches, and we came up a bit short."

Hagelin put the Rangers in front with a short-handed tally in the first period, and Derick Brassard made it 2-1 in the second in his return from a two-game injury absence. Hagelin also assisted on St. Louis' winner.

Lundqvist made 27 saves in tying the postseason franchise record for wins held by 1994 Cup champion Mike Richter, who was in attendance. He also earned an assist on Brassard's goal.

"I'm really proud to be out there with those guys, and hopefully can keep it going a little more," Lundqvist said.

Francis Bouillon tied it for Montreal in the second, and fellow defenseman P.K. Subban made it 2-2 in the third with a power-play goal. David Desharnais assisted on both for Montreal. Tokarski stopped 26 shots for the Canadiens, who went 1 for 8 on the power play.

"By no means are we counting ourselves out," Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said. "It's a tough loss, it's a bitter loss, but at the end of the day we are still in this series. I still like our chances with two games at home."

Though there were 13 minor penalties, there was no carry-over of the nastiness in Game 3 when a hit by Montreal's Brandon Prust broke the jaw of New York forward Derek Stepan. Prust served the first game of a two-game suspension. Stepan sat out after having surgery.

The Rangers gave Montreal five power plays through the first two periods, and New York's penalty-killers stood tall. But the sixth produced the tying goal 2 minutes into the third period when Subban scored his first goal of the series and first point in six games.

That broke the Rangers' run of 27 straight killed penalties, dating to Game 2 of the second round.

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Ally 09 May 26 2014 at 3:45 PM

Damn, I want Montreal and Chicago in the finals, screw the rest.

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1 reply
emstaford Ally 09 May 27 2014 at 1:47 PM

I don't think that is going to happen. Quite the opposite.

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janet2derek May 26 2014 at 3:29 PM

ya real game ha ha. Boston nicely took out the Montreal team's olympic gold medal winning goalie who has been playing fabulously throughout the playoffs. Therefor Rangers get a pass to take the seriers by default because when your goalie is not available to play due to dirty play you age going to lose. Typical American cheaters at all sports.

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8 replies
gts31bumbee May 26 2014 at 4:25 PM

I predicted the Rangers in 5 games . My reason is that the Bruins took most of the starch out of Montreal. The Canadians are just about running on empty. Think about it; the Rangers got an assist from the Bruins and they are welcome.

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1 reply
Winelova gts31bumbee May 27 2014 at 10:50 AM

Please....stop giving credit to the Bruins. The Rangers went 7 against Pittsburgh with back to back games at one point. Bruins have nothing to do with it.

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tony310675 May 26 2014 at 2:14 PM

lets face it. the nhl is rigging it so that it is an LA/NY scf.

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2 replies
Robert tony310675 May 26 2014 at 3:41 PM

Just the opposite. The refs are calling most penalties against the Rangers . Montreal players are diving more than Cindy Crosby-they should be wearing bathing suits. Let's Go Rangers !!!!

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3 replies
jws1141 tony310675 May 26 2014 at 4:00 PM

I hope so ! but lets be real, they want a Mon/La final ... bet on that Montreal will always get the edge,
Just look at the penalities ... NY far behind and the broken Jaw gets 2 game and Rangers get 10 game out ... Think a bit

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2 replies
jm27431111 jws1141 May 27 2014 at 9:53 AM

think about what....one was a late hit and the 2 games was the correct call..the other was a Ranger who has been SUSPENDED 10 previous times and the 10 games for deliberately elbowing an official was less than he should have gotten...Carcillo is a goon and Prust is not....learn the game before commenting

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Winelova jws1141 May 27 2014 at 10:54 AM

Prust was a goon when he was with the Rangers......

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jnel713 May 27 2014 at 1:34 PM

Kings are going to win the cup

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JOHN May 27 2014 at 12:16 PM

Canadians should be playing soccer with all the fake flops and bad acting jobs they are doing.

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Ron Winkler May 27 2014 at 9:24 AM

Does anybody at AOL know that the Kings won yesterday and they, too, are within one game of the Stanley Cup finals?

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lgvxl42 May 27 2014 at 3:34 AM

After watching these last five games, what does every one see in Subban? He is mediocre, at best. He holds the biscuit too long when he should be passing or at the very least dumping along the boards. His hesitation has allowed NY the break aways. He tries too much stick handling when he should be getting rid of the puck. I would have enjoyed a more even game, but I believe NY will end Les Habitants quest at five games. ....Just an opinion.

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1 reply
thompsonsmg1927 lgvxl42 May 27 2014 at 7:46 AM

Out of all of those players you could bash, you pick the black guy. Are you racist or what? Your assessment of Subban is, after all, correct, but that doesn't mean you can say it out loud or in print. You want the whole world to come down on you? Just kidding. Say what you want. The Rangers do seem to be skating alittle faster and they have been physical enough. The first playoffs I watched were in '94. Had to watch the Rangers most of the time on ESPN, as I didn't have ESPN2 back then. Kinda became a Rangers fan. I saw Mike Richter score an empty net goal. Haven't seen that happen since then.

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tomidesmar May 27 2014 at 1:34 AM

Montreal could have easily won this game, hitting a pipe near the end. I hope the Kings win it all now, as I predict they will.

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turqea.blue May 26 2014 at 10:13 PM

GOOO RANGERS GOOO!!!!!!!!

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