The New York Rangers completely shut down the Montreal Canadiens tonight, and earned a 1-0 win, which is their first win at the Bell Centre since the 2009 season. Cam Talbot also earned his first career shutout with the win, and is now 4-0 in his last four starts for the Rangers. Along with Talbot coming up huge, the Rangers played a very responsible game in their own zone, and didn't give the Canadiens many scoring chances.
A big thing for the Rangers tonight was their speed throughout all three zones, and the ability to beat the Canadiens to pucks as well. Some of that is likely due to the Canaidnes playing last night in Columbus, but a majority of the credit goes to the Rangers. They did everything they were supposed to tonight, and were able to execute against a fatigued hockey team.
Chris Kreider was very noticeable throughout the first period, as he had three or four golden opportunities to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. He was absolutely abusing the defensemen down the left side of the ice, and there wasn't anyone that could match his speed coming into the zone.
Finally in the second period, the Rangers had a very good opportunity as they were handed a 5-on-3 for 40 seconds in the opening minutes. After some solid zone time with the two man advantage, the Rangers were able to cash in just as the penalty expired. Brad Richards made a great play to make himself open shortly after dishing the puck off, and wired a slap shot through traffic in front. The goal was originally credited to Richards, but upon video review it was deemed that the puck actually went off of Ryan Callahan's stick, and beat Carey Price over the arm.
Goals have been hard to come by for the Rangers in Montreal, so getting the first goal (wound up being the only goal) was a huge boost for this team. The Rangers continued to take it to the Canadiens throughout the second period, until Chris Kreider was whistled down for a phantom high sticking penalty on P.K. Subban.
Coming into tonight's game, the Canadiens power play was operating at third in the NHL, and was close to 24%. Derek Dorsett had a monster game on the penalty kill, which included a huge diving block later in the second period. Dorsett had a shaky start to the year, but has flourished into a very responsible two-way forward over the last handful of games.
The third period was pretty much the Cam Talbot show, as he reeled in the win for the Rangers with some very crucial saves late in the game. One thing that Talbot has been praised for was his immense patience throughout tough situations. In those closing minutes where the Canadiens started to pick up the pressure, Talbot remained poised in his crease and looked like a grizzled veteran.
This victory will be very short lived for the Rangers as they will fly right back to New York tonight, as they prepare to take on the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden.