Radulov helps Canadiens beat Rangers 3-1 for series lead

David Kirouac  Icon Sportswire

The Rangers are looking for a win.

The Canadiens head into Tuesday night's game four encounter coming off a huge victory to take the series lead in game three and have a great shot here at putting themselves in the driver's seat heading back home with a chance to clinch the series.

And, in doing so the Rangers - gasp - won a playoff game at Madison Square Garden, snapping a six-game losing streak dating to Game 2 of the 2015 Eastern Conference final against the Lightning.

The series shifts to St. Louis for Game 3 on Sunday. That was likely the refrain of many fans going into game two but when you come that close to taking a commanding series lead it is demoralizing.

Through much of the first two games and essentially all of Game 3, Montreal forced NY into neutral-zone dumps, most of which were cleared easily. "You feel better about yourself and your game". "I thought we managed the puck better and played a better game". "When these two teams met in the playoffs in 2014 â€" the Rangers won that series 4-2 â€" NY won two of three games at the Bell Centre.

This success represents a major change for the Rangers in New York City, where they have struggled all season and looked flat in Game 3.

The Canadiens poured 49 shots on Henrik Lundqvist in the final two periods and 18 minutes of overtime.

One thing that can't be erased is the Rangers' inconsistency on defense, which proved to be a problem in Game 2.

Somehow this and 54 saves was not enough. The Canadiens knew they were going to get New York's best punch, but they failed to punch back. When we couldn't hold onto the puck and make the right play, we forced it with those long stretch passes, and they weren't there.

"They're playing very well defensively", said NY coach Alain Vigneault, who added that the Rangers' fourth line of Tanner Glass, Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg has been his best forward combination.

NY found a breakthrough 11:39 into the game when Jesper Fast weaved his way to the front of the Montreal goal and stuffed home a backhanded chance through Price to blow the roof off Madison Square Garden.

"After what happened in Montreal, you know for sure that the game is not over until it's over", Lundqvist said. Weber one-timed a feed from Alex Galchenyuk past Lundqvist to finish off a sequence that began with Jeff Petry knocking the puck off Rick Nash's stick in the defensive zone to start the counterattack.

Whatever momentum the Habs built in the last half of the 1 period was utterly eviscerated by the second period, which was by far and away their worst period of the series.

With everyone buying into the defense-first philosophy, beating the Canadiens three times in the next four games will be hard for the Rangers.

"Certainly we could be better", Ryan McDonagh said.

With the Canadiens pressing, both Staal and Nick Holden chased a puck behind net, and Chris Kreider followed, but Brendan Gallagher, an irritant all night, retrieved it and quickly fed Byron, untouched by Derek Stepan, and his snap shot went over Lundqvist's right shoulder at 15:42 for a 2-1 lead. After a few icing calls, some near misses by the Rangers on the Canadiens empty net and some pressure by the Habs in New York's end, time expired as the Canadiens could not get the equalizer.

"They threw a lot of pucks at our net, but I don't think there were too many chances".

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