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NHL: Rangers beat Canadiens 7-2 in Game 1 of Eastern Conference finals

Published May 17, 2014 5:10 pm

N.Y. beats Montreal 7-2 in opener as player mourns mom's death.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Montreal • Martin St. Louis and the New York Rangers had a reason to smile in the midst of a weekend of sadness.

St. Louis, who will attend his mother's funeral with his teammates on Sunday, scored the opening goal of the Eastern Conference finals to pace New York's suddenly high-powered offense in a 7-2 rout of the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

New York got goals from six other players, and Henrik Lundqvist quieted talk of a Montreal jinx in a 20-save effort. It was his first victory at the Bell Centre in more than two years.

The Rangers have wrested home-ice advantage away from the Canadiens, heading into Game 2 of the series Monday night in Montreal.

"It was an emotional time for everyone, but the guys have been behind me and supported me," said St. Louis, who received a long ovation from the crowd when he was named the game's first star. "My teammates are behind me and supporting me, and their effort was unbelievable.

"We feel really close right now and we're trying to keep feeding off that."

The Rangers galvanized and drew inspiration from St. Louis after his mother's unexpected death before Game 5 of New York's second-round series against Pittsburgh.

The Broadway Blueshirts haven't lost since, winning four straight — including three on the road.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said his team is trying to support St. Louis while staying focused on playing a sound team game.

"Emotionally, for us, that is something really strong right now," Vigneault said. "I know quite a few of our guys went to the wake [on Friday], and I texted with Marty last night to make sure that everything was good.

"He's handled it in an incredible way that probably has helped our team come closer together. [Sunday] is going to be a tough day. We need to be there to support him, and we'll do that and get ready for Monday."

Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Brad Richards, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Rick Nash also scored for the Rangers, who had netted only four goals in their past nine visits to Montreal. —

Eastern Conference finals

MONTREAL VS.N.Y. RANGERS

Saturday • N.Y. Rangers 7, Montreal 2

Monday • at Montreal, 6 p.m., NBCSN

Thursday • at N.Y. Rangers, 6 p.m., NBCSN

Sunday, May 25 • at N.Y. Rangers, 6 p.m., NBCSN

x-Tuesday, May 27 • at Montreal, 6 p.m., NBCSN

x-Thursday, May 29 • at N.Y. Rangers, 6 p.m., NBCSN

x-Saturday, May 31 • at Montreal, 6 p.m., NBCSN

Western Conference finals

Chicago vs.Los angeles

Sunday • at Chicago, 1 p.m., Ch. 5

Wednesday • at Chicago, 6 p.m., NBCSN

Saturday • at Los Angeles, 6 p.m., NBCSN

Monday, May 26 • at Los Angeles, 7 p.m., NBCSN

x-Wednesday, May 28 • at Chicago, 6 p.m., NBCSN

x-Friday, May 30 • at Los Angeles, 7 p.m., NBCSN

x-Sunday, June 1 • at Chicago, 6 p.m., NBCSN

x-if necessary