Montreal went 2 for 3 with the man advantage and killed all three NY power plays.
A melee broke out when Steve Ott flattened Zuccarello and it was the Rangers who seemed to get a lift from it as they tied the score 9:58 into the second.
Lundqvist did the rest, earning the shutout despite struggling with his rebound control throughout the game. But the preponderance of play was controlled by the Rangers.
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But the Wild realize they're better off continuing to use their speed, depth and faceoff dominance toward the scoring chances that were in abundance over the first two games only to be thwarted by goalie Jake Allen. Price mishandled a puck behind the net and was late getting into position, giving Rick Nash (who was risky all night) an open side that he failed to convert. They had some chances, none better than first-period breakaways for Torrey Mitchell and Andrew Shaw, but they fell woefully short. Fast was able to pounce on the loose puck, and stuffed it through Price's legs to give the Rangers the 1-0 lead they desperately needed.
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. These teams have played to the under in both games so far and this one figures to be another tight, low scoring affair as the goalies have put on a clinic thus far. Other celebs included comedian John Oliver, Run-D.M.C. rapper Darryl McDaniels, actor Ansel Elgort from The Divergent series, Today Show host Matt Lauer, former New York Mets reliever John Franco and the New York Giants trio of Justin Pugh, Jonathan Casillas and Damon Harrison.
Game 4 is Tuesday night. Alexander Radulov eluded the check of Brady Skjei near the Rangers' bench and passed the puck to Mitchell, who started a 2-on-1 break with Shea Weber and Mitchell scored into an open net with 1:23 remaining. "We didn't do that for 82 games".
The Canadiens have just a one-game advantage over the Rangers in this first round, but Montreal has clearly shown they've been better at adapting than NY. How Price, and by extension the Canadiens' defense, weathers that storm in the first period could be an indicator of how this game goes. About the 4:30 mark of period two, Benn turned the puck over with an errant pass attempt off the end boards which was intended for Jeff Petry. In doing so, the Canadiens limited NY to 21 shots.
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"The guys were playing on their toes", Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said.
"It was great", Nash said of his goal.
Regardless of Rangers domination, it was still a one-goal lead heading into the third as the hosts missed out on an opportunity to put the game away early. At the 12 minute mark, the shots were 7-1 NY and the shots were quite indicative of the play.
For veteran forward Derek Stepan, it wasn't a lack of effort that was to blame.
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Astonishingly, the Rangers have gone the entirety of their six-game home playoff losing streak without a 5-on-5 goal, their last such tally coming with 2:25 left in the third period of Game 1 against the Lightning in 2015, Dom Moore's game-winner. Lundqvist lost his stick for a second time about five minutes later, but the puck was cleared out of danger.