Rangers vs Canadiens: A Playoff History

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Martin St. Louis #26 of the New York Rangers celebrates with teammate Dan Girardi #5 after scoring in the overtime period of Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 during the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 25, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

The New York Rangers will officially meet up with the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the NHL playoffs, meeting up with their Original Six rival for the 16th time, facing off with them more than any opponent in their history. Here, we take a look back at the previous meetings, the most recent coming in 2014.

1930 Semifinals: Canadiens 2, Rangers 0

The teams’ first ever playoff meeting was a best-of-three set, and the dramatics began immediately. In Game 1 at Montreal Forum, the pair played a thriller that went into quadruple overtime, and would’ve played a fifth had Gus Rivers not put one in for the Habs in the penultimate minute for the Montreal win. Game 2 featured a lot less drama, with the Canadiens clinching with a 2-0 win. The Habs would go on to win their third Stanley Cup title, upsetting Boston.

1932 Semifinals: Rangers 3, Canadiens 1

More multi-overtime antics ensured in the Rangers’ first postseason win over Montreal, though it went one less period than the previous year’s classic. After the Canadiens took Game 1, the Rangers made up separate 2-0 and 3-1 deficits in Game 2, as Butch Keeling and Ching Johnson scored goals to knot it up in the third period before the winner was provided by Bun Cook, who scored with 27 seconds remaining in the third overtime. The Rangers would wrap up the series victory with wins of 1-0 and 5-2.

1933 Quarterfinals: Rangers 8, Canadiens 5

The Rangers earned the first win to their second Stanley Cup title with this aggregate series win over the Habs. This one actually featured a tie in the a series, a 3-3 final in Game 2. The Rangers positioned themselves up well for the aggregate win with a 5-2 win in Game 1 before the tie, and would go on to defeat Detroit and Toronto to earn their second Cup banner.

1935 Quarterfinals: Rangers 6, Canadiens 5

In another aggregate series, this match featured another tie in Game 2, with a furious Montreal really falling just short. The Rangers set themselves up in good position by earning a 2-1 win in Game 1, before taking a 3-1 lead in the third period of Game 2.

1950 Semifinals: Rangers 4, Canadiens 1

Finishing 10 points behind Montreal, the Rangers pulled of an upset to appear in the 1950 Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the series, with Pentti Lund leading the way with four goals in the first three games. The Canadiens won 3-2 in overtime to extend the series past Game 4, but the Rangers slammed the door shut in the next game, limiting Montreal to just 14 shots in a 3-0 win, all of those goals coming in the third period.

1956 Semifinals: Canadiens 4, Rangers 1

Don’t let the Rangers’ earning of a win in this series fool you. Enjoying the appetizer before beating Detroit for their eighth title, Montreal began a period of playoff dominance over the Rangers, winning each of their games by multiple goals. The series was bookended by seven goal performances by the Habs, and Jean Beliveau scored four goals in the series.

1957 Semifinals: Canadiens 4, Rangers 1

Montreal continued their streak over the Rangers with this 4-1 series win, though the Rangers didn’t make the trek to the Canadiens’ ninth championship easy. After dropping Game 1, the Rangers knotted up the series in a 4-3 overtime thriller that saw Gump Worsley make 44 saves and Andy Hebenton score the winner. But Montreal slammed the door shut on any comeback hopes, winning Game 3 by an 8-3 final (outshooting the Rangers 46-27) before winning 3-1 in Game 4. The Rangers made things interesting in Game 5, with a trio of third period goals erasing a 3-0 deficit to force overtime, but Maurice “Rocket” Richard ended the series with a score in the extra period.

1967 Semifinals: Canadiens 4, Rangers 0

This sweep at the hands of the Habs was cursed from the very beginning. It’s a good thing Twitter didn’t exist in 1967, because the “Rangers blew a 4-1 lead” jokes would get old real quick. The Rangers did just that, as that third period margin was erased over the span of seven minutes. The Rangers never had a lead for the remainder of the series, managing only to tie it several times, including in the series finale, which saw Montreal earn a game winner from John Ferguson in overtime.

1969 Eastern Quarterfinals: Canadiens 4, Rangers 0

The last sweep in the teams’ playoff history, Montreal dominated the Rangers en route to what became their 16th Stanley Cup title, an opening round sweep kicking things off. The games were never particularly close, as the Canadiens won each of the first three games by 2+ goals, and led 4-0 in the clincher before the Rangers made the finale respectable with three scores, though falling just short in an attempt to extend the series.

1972 Quarterfinals: Rangers 4, Canadiens 2

The Rangers first victim en route to appearing the 1972 Stanley Cup Final was the Canadiens, whom they beat in six games. The Rangers opened the series at MSG, with Jean Ratelle providing a pair of scores, before three third period goals gave them a win a Game 2. Montreal earned a 2-1 win when the series shifted to Canada, but the Rangers took the next game 6-4 eventually winning the series in six games.

1974 Quarterfinals: Rangers 4, Canadiens 2

After winning Game 1 by a 4-1 final at Montreal Forum, the Rangers fell behind in the series 2-1 after the Habs put up a quartet of goal in Games 2 and 3. But after they won Game 4, the Rangers took the series lead for good with a win in overtime, the winning tally provided by Ron Harris. The clinching game in the series was, appropriately, also a comeback effort, as Montreal took a 2-0 lead at MSG. However, they were able to tie before the second period let out, and Jean Ratelle gave the Rangers the game winning tally in the third. Pete Stemkowski capped things off with a pair of empty netters, the finishing touches on a 5-2 victory.

1979 Stanley Cup Final: Canadiens 4, Rangers 1

The Canadiens captured their 22nd title in franchise history in a five-game set over the Rangers. The Blueshirts even took the first game of the championship series, with John Davidson making 31 saves in a 4-1 win, but Montreal took over shortly after. Three of the four wins thereafter were by multiple goals, with the lone exception being Game 4, with Serge Savard putting the winner past Davidson, who made 38 saves in the extended game. The championship marked the end of Montreal’s 1970’s dynasty, their sixth and final of the decade.

1986 Eastern Final: Canadiens 4, Rangers 1

The Rangers entered the ’86 playoffs with a losing record, but pulled off upset wins over Philadelphia and Washington to advance to the conference final. However, Montreal, armed with 110-points scorer Mats Naslund and a rookie goaltender named Patrick Roy ended the Rangers’ magical run, going up 3-0 in the series. Thought Game 2 was a 6-2 shellacking, the Habs won narrow Games 1 and 3, escaping the latter with an overtime goal by Claude Lemieux. The Rangers salvaged a win thanks to a shutout by John Vanbiesbrouck in Game 4, but Montreal wrapped things up with a 3-1 win in Game 5 to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

1996 Eastern Quarterfinals: Rangers 4, Canadiens 2

In the opening round of the 1996 playoffs, Montreal took an early 2-0 lead in the series after earning wins in the opening pair at MSG, with Vincent Damphousse scoring two goals in a Game 1 overtime win before scoring two more and helping on two others in a 5-3 win in Game 2. But after that, the Rangers completely took over control of the series, as Adam Graves had a pair of two-goal games at Molson Centre to tie up the series. After a 3-2 win back at The Garden, the Rangers would clinch the series win in Montreal by a 5-3 final, with Alex Kovalev and Pat Verbeek each earning two points in the clinching victory.

2014 Eastern Final: Rangers 4, Canadiens 2

The most recent postseason tilt between the two teams decided who would go to the Stanley Cup Final. Though marketed as an elite goaltending showdown between Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price, the latter’s involvement was limited, as Chris Kreider, after being interfered with by former teammate Brandon Prust, collided with Price in Game 1, which became a 7-2 Rangers win. An injured Price was relieved after the second period by Peter Budaj, and later Dustin Tokarski for the remainder of the series. After sweeping the first pair at Bell Centre, the teams played a couple of overtime thrillers at MSG, with an Alex Galchenyuk deflection giving Montreal their first win in Game 3, before Martin St. Louis put the Rangers up 3-1 in the series with a winner in Game 4. Montreal took Game 5 at home, a Rene Bourque hat trick leading a 7-4 win, but the Rangers took a Game 6 thriller, with Lundqvist making 18 saves for a shutout and Dominic Moore scoring the winner in a 1-0 contest.

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