Rangers to Meet Canadiens in Eastern Conference Final

By Matt Calamia

The Rangers will face the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Final following Montreal’s 3-1 win over Boston tonight in Game 7.

The series will begin Saturday at 1 pm at Bell Centre in Montreal, and can be seen on NBC in the U.S.

The Blueshirts were 1-1-1 against Montreal this season, with all three games ending in a shutout. The Rangers were defeated, 2-0, on Oct. 28 at the Rangers’ home-opener at Madison Square Garden. New York answered three weeks later with a 1-0 win on Nov. 16, in which rookie Cam Talbot registered his first career NHL shutout.

Montreal got the better of the Rangers in the final game of the season with a 1-0 overtime win on a penalty shot goal by Brian Gionta. Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh, Martin St. Louis and Dan Girardi did not play.

The Rangers are appearing in their second Eastern Conference Final in three years, with their previous appearance coming in 2012 when they were defeated by New Jersey in six games.

The Blueshirts won their fifth consecutive Game 7 Tuesday night in a 2-1 victory over the Penguins after overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the series. The Rangers received goals from Brian Boyle and Brad Richards, and 35 saves from Lundqvist.

The Canadiens overcame a deficit of their own in their Atlantic Division Final matchup against the Bruins. After trailing 3-2, Montreal left Boston Wednesday with the victory behind goals from Dale Weise, Max Pacioretty and Daniel Briere, while Carey Price won his second career Game 7 by making 29 saves.

The Rangers and Canadiens are meeting in the postseason for the first time since 1996, when the Rangers defeated Montreal 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Quarter-Final. This marks the 15th postseason meeting between the two teams, with both teams having won seven series. It’s just the third meeting since they met in the 1979 Stanley Cup Final, which Montreal won, 4-1.