The New York Rangers came out ready to work tonight, and put together a full 60 minute game of hockey to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-0 at Madison Square Garden. Henrik Lundqvist picked up his fourth shutout of the season, which gave the Rangers back-to-back shutouts with Cam Talbot shutting out the Flyers a few nights ago.
That's two straight games now were the Rangers have played very well in their own end, as their defensive core continues to generate chemistry after getting healthy. Couple that with Ryan McDonagh returning to the lineup soon, their big offensive guns firing on all cylinders, and the Rangers have a big opportunity to start stringing together some wins here over the next few games.
The Rangers got on the Canadiens early, and didn't allow them to claw their way back into the game with a suffocating forecheck. After numerous scoring chances early in the game, the Rangers finally broke through at the 9:44 mark with a gritty goal from Dominic Moore. Tanner Glass picked up his first point as a Ranger on the goal, as he was credited with the primary assist after lofting a shot in on Dustin Tokarski. Tokarski had trouble with the shot, and kicked the rebound out to Moore who slammed it home for the 1-0 lead.
Heading into the second period, the Rangers continued their dominance, and came away with a pair of goals to extend their lead to 3-0. The first goal came just 35 seconds into the second period, as Martin St. Louis set up Derek Stepan in the slot with a beautiful cross-ice feed. Stepan had all the room in the world to work with, and snapped a high, hard shot over the shoulder of Tokarski for the 2-0 lead.
Then, 15 minutes later, St. Louis cashed in on an opportunity of his own as he stripped Alexei Emelin at the blue line, and broke in all alone on Tokarski. With plenty of room to work with, St. Louis made a quick move to his forehand before roofing the shot over Tokarski's glove to make it 3-0 late in the second period. In the third period, the Rangers closed out the scoring with two more goals coming from Carl Hagelin, and Rick Nash.
Anthony Duclair and Kevin Hayes deserve all the credit in the world for creating Hagelin's goal, and put on quite a show with their passing play. Hayes wound up starting it all with a power move into the zone, and quickly found Duclair on the far side with plenty of ice in front of him. Duclair was able to wait out the sliding Tokarski, and fed it over to Hagelin for the easy tap in at the far post. After a few quiet games for Duclair on the scoresheet, it's nice to see him get on the board with an assist. in this one.
Finally, Nash knocked in his 14th goal of the season after a beautiful breakout pass from Derick Brassard to spring Nash on a breakaway. Nash capped it off with a slick move to the backhand, and slipped the puck under the pad of Tokarski for the 5-0 lead. Henrik Lundqvist was able to fight off the remaining pressure from the Canadiens, and secured the Rangers second straight win.
The Rangers will have a scheduled off day tomorrow before they prepare to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning this upcoming Wednesday. Keep it rolling!