The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs officially kicked off on Wednesday night, and at Bell Centre, it was an “Original Six” matchup as Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers were getting ready to face off against Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens.
These two teams previously met in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, and last night proved that Canadiens fans were still angry over Chris Kreider being tripped into Carey Price three years ago. The chants of his name filled Bell Centre all night long, so this series was going to be quite physical.
Following a few great saves, Carey Price and probably a majority of Rangers fans were stunned when Tanner Glass put a backhand shot behind the net to make it 1-0 Rangers. Head coach Alain Vigneault sat Pavel Buchnevich in favor of Glass, and it seems to be the move that paid off. The second period went scoreless, then Michael Grabner scored an empty net goal and sealed the 2-0 victory for the Rangers.
Both teammates and coaches alike were proud of Lundqvist’s effort. Vigneault told reporters after the game, “He (Lundqvist) played like we expected him to play. He’s a good goaltender. That’s what we expected from him.”
“I think this was one of our better games as a team in a long time. It’s inspiring,” a beaming Lundqvist said following the game.
Game two of the series is Friday night in Montreal before returning to New York on Easter Sunday and Tuesday for games three and four, respectively.