Rangers beat Canadiens in 6, reach Cup finals for first time in 20 years
By Ira Podell ,AP
May 31, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
NEW YORK -- Henrik Lundqvist bounced back from one of the toughest games of his career with a performance that put the Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in 20 years.
Lundqvist wasn't overly busy in stopping all 18 shots he faced, but there was no margin for error. Dominic Moore's second-period goal gave New York a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 on Thursday night.
The Rangers, who spent parts of the season as a question mark to make the playoffs, are in the finals for the first time since winning the title in 1994.
“We played so well the entire game,” Lundqvist said. “For me it was more about just being focused on the shots they had.”
Lundqvist and the Rangers shook off a 7-4 loss on Tuesday night in Montreal when they had their first chance to end the Eastern Conference finals.
Lundqvist quickly grew tired of the questions about that poor night, when he was yanked after allowing four goals in less than two periods. Now he is in the finals for the first time in his nine-year career.
“It's been tough,” Lundqvist said. “You have so many highs. You have a few lows where you're questioning a lot of things, but then you just have to make up your mind, you can't have any excuses. I don't think I've been more determined to win a hockey game. To put ourselves in a spot where we can play for the Cup is extremely special.”
Lundqvist leaped several times in his crease with his hands raised as streamers were fired off from the rafters at the final buzzer.
“It was just such a great feeling to see how we responded from the last game,” Lundqvist said. “The third period, I think we played our best period of the playoffs. When it mattered the most, the guys really stepped up.”
Lundqvist equaled the team record for playoff shutouts with nine.
The Rangers are the first team to advance to the finals after being stretched to seven games in the first two rounds. To celebrate, the Empire State Building was immediately lit up in the team's red, white and blue.
The Rangers don't have a captain, so assistants Brad Richards, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, were called to accept the Prince of Wales Trophy but didn't touch it. The whole team joined them and posed for a photo while the Garden rocked with yells of “We Want The Cup!”