Thursday, May 15, 2014

Canadiens to Meet Rangers in Eastern Final

What looked to be an all black-and-gold NHL Eastern Conference final a week ago has turned red, white and blue - or bleu, blanc et rouge, if you're north of the border.

One night after the New York Rangers completed their comeback from a 3-1 series deficit against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 2-1 win in Steeltown, the Montreal Canadiens completed their own comeback from a 3-2 series deficit against the Boston Bruins with a 3-1 victory in Beantown.

Max Pacioretty (Michigan) notched the game-winning goal in the second period as the Habs took a 2-0 lead en route to their Game 7 triumph over the East's No. 1 seed. Torey Krug (Michigan State) assisted on Boston's lone goal as Montreal defeated the Bruins for the sixth time in nine all-time Game 7 meetings.

Brian Boyle (Boston College) scored the game-opening goal in the Rangers win on Tuesday night, assisted by Dominic Moore (Harvard). Martin St. Louis (Vermont) and Derek Stepan (Wisconsin) then set up Brad Richard's game- and series-winning goal in the second period to break a 1-1 tie. New York allowed Pittsburgh just three goals in the final three games.

The Rangers-Canadiens series will begin on Friday in Montreal. It has been 20 years since the Rangers made the Stanley Cup Final and won hockey's biggest prize, one year after the Habs did the same in 1993 when Montreal won 10 overtime contests that spring.

Out west, Jonathan Quick (Massachusetts) kept the Los Angeles Kings alive by making 21 saves in a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 last night in Inglewood, Cal. Kyle Palmieri (Notre Dame) scored the Ducks' only goal, assisted by Nick Bonino (Boston University), after Anaheim fell behind, 2-0.

Game 7 will be contested in Anaheim on Friday night. The winner will face the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, who ousted the Minnesota Wild in six games after a 2-1 overtime win in Minnesota on Tuesday.

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