The New York Rangers opened the 2014 Eastern Conference Final with a commanding 7-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday afternoon at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
After both teams came back to win seven-game series in Round 2, the Rangers were able to keep their emotion and intensity high, stunning a Canadiens team that has been strong at home throughout the playoffs.
Martin St. Louis continued his inspired play in the wake of his mother's passing, opening the scoring for New York just 4:35 into the first period.
Montreal played better in the second, but a late lapse gave the Rangers a 4-1 lead through 40 minutes. After starting goaltender Carey Price was replaced by Peter Budaj, New York added three power-play goals in the third period before Lars Eller rounded out the scoring.
Ryan McDonagh tied a Rangers' team record for a defenseman with four assists on the day and Rick Nash snapped out of his scoring slump with his first goal of the playoffs.
Montreal hasn't faced much adversity in these playoffs. They'll have some work to do if they hope to combat the speedy Rangers more effectively in Game 2 on Monday.
Final Score: New York Rangers 7 - Montreal Canadiens 2
Rangers lead best-of-seven series 1-0
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