News, notes and nuggets as the New York Rangers try to capitalize on their blowout win in Saturday’s opening game of Eastern Conference finals against the Montreal Canadiens. Game 2 is scheduled for Monday night at 8 at the Bell Centre on NBCSN:
What happened: After taking turns shutting out each other in six straight previous meetings and combining for just four goals in three regular season games, the Rangers rolled over the Canadiens in Game 1 by a 7-2 score. Seven different Rangers found the back of the net and defenseman Ryan McDonagh recorded a career-high four points in the rout.
Can Price bounce back?: Carey Price, who outdueled Henrik Lundqvist in Canada’s Olympic gold medal victory over Sweden back in February, was pulled after allowing four goals on 20 shots through two periods. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said he yanked Price to “protect him.” With Canadiens backup Peter Budaj allowing three more goals in the final period, there is no chance Therrien changes his goalies for Game 2.
Remember me? McDonagh joined some elite company with his Game 1 performance. Brian Leetch, Brad Park and Dave Maloney are the only other Rangers defensemen to record four points in a playoff game.
The fact his big day came against his former team must have been even sweeter for McDonagh, who was drafted by Montreal with the 12th overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft. McDonagh never played a game for the Habs because he was traded to New York along with Christopher Higgins, Doug Janik and Pavel Valentenko in exchange for Scott Gomez, Tom Pyatt and Mike Busto on June 30, 2009.
Yes, Montreal, that trade was a busto.
Other plot twists: Other Rangers who have played for the Canadiens are Dominic Moore, Benoit Pouliot and Raphael Diaz. Canadiens who have played for the Rangers include Brandon Prust and Dale Weise.
Meanwhile, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault also served as the Canadiens’ head coach for four seasons [1997-01], posting a 109-118-39 record. He was replaced by current Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien.
Comedic wager: Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” agreed to a friendly wager with the Canadiens based on the outcome of the Eastern Conference finals. If Montreal wins, Fallon will wear a Canadiens jersey during one of his monologues. If New York wins, the Canadiens will change their Twitter avatar (@CanadiensMTL) to a photo of Fallon’s choosing for one day, plus outfit their famed mascot, Youppi!, in a Rangers jersey and post 10 different pictures of him walking around Montreal showing it off.
What the Rangers are saying:
“Our guys know we're up against a really good team that have beaten the best team right now in the NHL. So we know we've got our hands full.” - coach Alain Vigneault
“It's been an emotional time for everybody, but the guys have been behind me and supporting me. Their effort is unbelievable. You know we're for sure very close right now, and we're trying to keep feeding off of that.” – forward Marty St. Louis on his teammates attending his mother’s viewing on Friday
What the Canadiens are saying:
“Yeah, we were not ready mentally. Physically we were not ready to compete for a game like that and with the result that we saw.” – coach Michel Therrien on his team’s energy level or Game 1 after eliminating the Bruins in 7 games
"The rivalry is maybe not as big as Boston. Now it's on, I guess."- forward David Desharnais