Many fans feel the New York Rangers should avoid the bloodbath that is the Metropolitan Division playoffs by staying in the first wild card spot, taking their chances with the Atlantic Division champion.
If last night is any indication, they may want to rethink that strategy.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Rangers were outplayed by a potential playoff foe, as they were unable to handle the Montreal rush, falling to the Canadians by a 4-1 final. With the loss, the Rangers (41-22-2) were swept by the Canadiens in the season series.
Henrik Lundqvist did what we could, dealing with the Canadiens’ onslaught all night. The first period goal could hardly be attributed to him, as a Shea Weber shot, destined to go wide, went off the skate of Adam Clendening and past Lundqvist for the 1-0 first period lead. Lundqvist held off Montreal’s second period attack, and the Rangers finally appeared to have something going. Carey Price, however, kept the puck away, and Artturi Lehkonen would double the lead with a score, making it 2-0. Andrew Shaw would later score on a wraparound for a 3-0 lead before the frame mercifully ended.
The Rangers would eventually break through in the final frame, as Chris Kreider scored his 24th to close the gap to 3-1. However, Price stole the show again for Montreal (37-21-8) and would not allow the Rangers to press further. Recently acquired Jordie Benn earned the final score of the night, capping off a 4-1 win. Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk each had a pair of assists for the Habs, who have now won five in a row.
The Rangers will now look to regain their composure, as they set off for a four game road trip, one that kicks off on Monday night in Tampa Bay (7:30, MSG)