New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist Shine in Game 1 vs Montreal Canadiens

Brossard Que. The Canadiens will face the New York Rangers in the first round of playoffs. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Paul Chiasson

Coach Julien looks for scoring balance in demoting Galchenyuk to fourth line

Montreal Canadiens' Alex Galchenyuk goes after a flying puck during a practice Monday, April 10, 2017, in Brossard, Quebec.

It wasn't flawless, few victories are - especially those earned in the playoffs against high-quality opposition - but there was so much to like about the New York Rangers start to the playoffs.

In the first period, the New York Rangers were able to score the first goal of the series with a ridiculous backhand from Tanner Glass. A series win against Montreal would lead to an even easier second round opponent with the victor of the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins best-of-seven waiting for Blue Shirts. After Tomas Plekanec won the faceoff for the Canadiens, Glass got his stick on the puck in the right circle and lifted a backhander past Price at 9:50 of the first period.

Canadiens coach Claude Julien did not anticipate making any lineup changes for Game 2 but also did not offer any confirmation that he would not.

Lundqvist also knows that his Stanley Cup window is closing with the team, which will only make his play in the playoffs this season that much stronger.

So playing the opening two games of their series at the Bell Centre in Montreal is not a big problem. "When they give us rebounds we just have to bear down". Two seasons ago he helped the Sens reach the playoffs by scoring seven times in the final six regular-season games.

EDMONTON, Alberta - Melker Karlsson scored at 3:22 of overtime and the San Jose Sharks came back to beat the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of their Western Conference series.

"My game hasn't changed", Kreider said.

"You've got to work that much harder when they playoffs around to get your scoring chances and to get your looks", said Nash.

The Montreal fan base, known for its long memories, will nearly certainly let Kreider know they haven't forgotten.


The Canadiens meanwhile have really turned things up since the trade deadline and are starting to look more and more like the Cup contender we have grown to see over the years but they have a tough first round matchup here against the first wild card team from NY.

NHL teams usually lose when they are trailing entering the third period, but Montreal led the league with 11 victories when trailing entering the third. "They have a lot of speed, good structure, a great goaltender, so it's a going to be a good test and a great challenge for us".

However, the star of the show for the Rangers was undoubtedly their keeper, Lundqvist, who was resolute in keeping the attacking threat of the Canadiens out. Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin will miss Game 1 with an injury.

It's just that with Galchenyuk set to become a restricted free agent in the summer, and the Canadiens desperate for a top flight centre, he might become that player Montreal craves elsewhere.

With at least one goal-scorer per line, the Rangers have the advantage of preventing the Canadiens from knowing who might end up going towards the net.

The playoffs are a completely different animal compared to regular season, which paves the way for some rather unexpected heroes.

"You want to stay even-keel". That's what you've got to do in the playoffs.

"We had a plan going into this game how we needed to play and we executed it perfectly". What's more, though, is they know they're in the head of one of the best clutch goaltenders of his generation. As such they will open the playoffs against the weaker division victor, in this case, the Canadiens.

"When he came to us in Vancouver, he wasn't on anybody's chart", Vigneault said of Glass during Rangers camp in 2014.

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