Martin St Louis started the scoring and Henrik Lundqvist won for the first time in Montreal in more than two years as the New York Rangers beat the Canadiens 7-2 on Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
St Louis, set to attend his mother’s funeral with his teammates yesterday, got the opening goal, and Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Brad Richards, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Rick Nash also scored for the Rangers. New York had only four goals in their past nine regular-season visits to the Bell Centre.
Lundqvist made 20 saves. He had not played a game in Montreal since allowing four goals on Jan. 15, 2012. His last win at the Bell Centre was March 17, 2009.
Rene Bourque and Lars Eller scored for Montreal, who saw star goaltender Carey Price apparently injure his right leg when he was run over early in the second period. Price was replaced by Peter Budaj after the second period, but it was not clear if it was because of an injury.
It was Montreal’s worst playoff defeat since losing 8-2 to Carolina in 2002.
Budaj was beaten on the first shot he faced, from the slot by McDonagh on a power play at 1 minute, 28 seconds.
The Canadiens then took a succession of penalties, including two minors and a misconduct to former Rangers forward Brandon Prust. Stepan scored and Nash broke his slump with his first in 15 playoff games this year.
Montreal got one back while short-handed with 4 minutes, 38 seconds left in the game when Eller beat Lundqvist with a quick, high shot from the slot.
That it was St Louis who got the Rangers started was fitting. He became a rallying point for his team for playing a day after his mother’s death as they erased a 3-1 series deficit to beat Pittsburgh in the second round.