Blueshirt Bullet Points, Game 1: Rangers 2 – Canadiens 0

In Blueshirt Bulletin Main Blog by Scott Charles

Led by Henrik Lundqvist and noted goal-scorer Tanner Glass, the Rangers shut out the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 in the opening game of the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Lundqvist made 31 saves and picked up his 10th career playoff shutout, passing Mike Richter for most in Rangers history.

Michael Grabner added an empty-netter to seal the deal late in the third period.

Blueshirt Bullet Points

1) The Rangers showed their playoff experience and did not lose their temper when Montreal started the game with several big hits. New York kept their composure and waited for momentum to swing in their favor. When Brendan Gallagher tripped up Marc Staal and tried to force the alternate captain to take a penalty, which would have cancelled the Rangers power play, Staal declined. A savvy move by defenseman that has been a part of several long postseason runs.

2) Henrik Lundqvist was terrific in Game 1 as he improved his career playoff record to 3-0 at the Bell Centre compared to his 4-8-2 record in 15 career regular-season appearances according to the NHL. The Franchise netminder out-dueled Carey Price and made 15 saves in the first period to allow the skaters in front of him to find their legs and adjust to the playoff atmosphere.

3) “We just tried to keep it simple,” Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said on MSG Networks after the game. “Take care the front of the net, not giving them second and third looks. Hank was real sharp tonight, stopping everything he could see.”

4) The Rangers fourth line was outstanding in the opening game of the series. All three players generated scoring chances and made smart, decisive plays when the opportunity presented itself. Jesper Fast made a brilliant drop pass to set up Grabner for the empty-netter. Lindberg, took a puck right from Price and almost scored if not for a great sliding save.

5) And what about Tanner Glass? Who picked him in the pool to score the first goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs? No. 15 fired a backhander over the glove of Price to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Expect him to remain in the lineup Friday night for Game 2.

6) Speaking of questionable lineup decisions, Dan Girardi played a tough, physical game with very few mistakes. The alternate captain did not look out of place on the top defensive pairing and helped prevent Montreal from finding the back of the bet.

7) On the other hand, Nick Holden struggled once again and could be ousted from the lineup with Kevin Klein ready to go. It will be interesting to see if Alain Vigneault is willing to mix things up after a Game 1 victory.

8) The first 10 minutes of the second period, the Rangers completely dominated and did everything right except increase their one-goal lead. Playoffs are all about momentum swings and New York will have to capitalize on those opportunities going forward.

9) Also, the five-on-three opportunity New York had in the third period did not result in many, if any, scoring opportunities. Montreal did a good job cutting off the passing lanes but New York needed to attack. McDonagh fired an ill-advised slap shot wide and out of the zone with no Blueshirts in front of Price. When these opportunities present themselves, its imperative they take advantage.

10) The Rangers have been one of the best road teams in the NHL and with the inability to protect home-ice advantage, Game 2 is a critical game. This is not a typical series where the road team is playing with house money after taking Game 1.