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05/17/2014 9:26 PM EDT
Rangers rout Canadiens 7-2 in Game 1
NY RANGERS 7, MONTREAL 2

MONTREAL (AP) -- Martin St. Louis and the New York Rangers had a
reason to smile in the midst of a weekend of sadness.

St. Louis, who will attend his mother's funeral with his
teammates on Sunday, scored the opening goal of the Eastern
Conference finals to pace New York's suddenly high-powered
offense in a 7-2 rout of the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

New York got goals from six other players, and Henrik Lundqvist
quieted talk of a Montreal jinx in a 20-save effort. It was his
first victory at the Bell Centre in more than two years.

The Rangers have wrested home-ice advantage away from the
Canadiens, heading into Game 2 of the series Monday night in
Montreal.

"It was an emotional time for everyone, but the guys have been
behind me and supported me," said St. Louis, who received a long
ovation from the crowd when he was named the game's first star.
"My teammates are behind me and supporting me, and their effort
was unbelievable.

"We feel really close right now and we're trying to keep feeding
off that."

The Rangers galvanized and drew inspiration from St. Louis after
his mother's unexpected death before Game 5 of New York's
second-round series against Pittsburgh.

The Broadway Blueshirts haven't lost since, winning four
straight - including three on the road.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said his team is trying to support
St. Louis while staying focused on playing a sound team game.

"Emotionally, for us, that is something really strong right
now," Vigneault said. "I know quite a few of our guys went to
the wake (on Friday), and I texted with Marty last night to make
sure that everything was good.

"He's handled it in an incredible way that probably has helped
our team come closer together. (Sunday) is going to be a tough
day. We need to be there to support him, and we'll do that and
get ready for Monday."

Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Brad Richards, Ryan McDonagh,
Derek Stepan and Rick Nash also scored for the Rangers, who had
netted only four goals in their past nine visits to Montreal.

Lundqvist hadn't played in Montreal since allowing four goals on
Jan. 15, 2012. His last win there was March 17, 2009.

The quick-footed Rangers, coming off a comeback, seven-game win
over Pittsburgh, jumped on a Canadiens team that was flat and
mentally absent after a nasty and emotional seven-game win over
top-seeded Boston.

"You don't look at the score," Richards said. "That's not
indicative of how anything's going to happen in this series.

"We got fortunate. We got some bounces. We got some momentum,
and pucks went in the net. It was a win, that's all it was.
We're very aware that it's going to be a lot different."

Rene Bourque and Lars Eller scored for Montreal.

New York's turnaround against Pittsburgh started when St. Louis
returned to the team a day after his mother, France, died. The
Rangers won the final three games of that series in rallying
from a 3-1 deficit.

Playing in his hometown, St. Louis scored 4:35 into the game. He
found an unguarded spot near the net and put Dominic Moore's
pass into an open side behind Carey Price, who lasted only two
periods.

Price appeared to injure his right leg early in the second when
Kreider slid into him after shooting wide on a breakaway. Price
remained in the game, but was pulled after giving up two goals
late in the second.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Price wasn't injured, and
was replaced by Peter Budaj to start the third because the team
was playing so poorly in front of him.

"Good thing it's a seven-game series and we have a chance to get
back in it on Monday," Bourque said. "I think we had a little
bit of an emotional letdown after the Boston series.

"We talked about that to going into the game. Obviously, it
didn't click. We have to just forget about this game."

The Rangers scored seven goals in a playoff game for the first
time since April 17, 2007, against Atlanta (7-0), and did it on
the road in the postseason for the first time since an 8-3 win
at Quebec on May 8, 1995.

It was Montreal's worst playoff defeat since losing 8-2 to
Carolina in 2002.

Budaj was beaten on the first shot he faced, from the slot by
McDonagh on a power play at 1:28.

The Canadiens then took a succession of penalties, including two
minors and a misconduct to former Rangers forward Brandon Prust.
Stepan scored and Nash broke his slump with his first in 15
playoff games this year.

"We're all happy to see Nasher score because he's taken a lot of
heat," Richards said. "That's a little weight off his back.

"We won the game. When you're in the playoffs, when it's 7-1, no
one's jumping up and down about who scored goals."

Montreal closed the scoring with Eller's short-handed goal with
4:38 left.

The boost the Canadiens got from their rousing pregame
ceremonies in the first two series wasn't there as the Rangers
showed all the speed and intensity in the opening period,
outshooting Montreal 12-6 and taking a 2-0 lead.

Dominic Moore jumped on a loose puck after Michael Bournival
partially blocked a point shot and slipped a pass to a wide open
St. Louis at the doorstep to open the scoring.

Moore was the playmaker again as he slid a pass in front of the
net, and the trailing Zuccarello poked it into an open side as
the Rangers beat Price twice on their first five shots.

Bourque took consecutive hooking calls late in the first period,
but made up for it in the second as he went hard to the net,
whacked at Brian Gionta's pass, and saw it go in off McDonagh's
stick at 12:38.

The crowd came to life but was quieted again when Stepan broke
in alone and beat Price with 1:01 left.

With 12 seconds remaining in the period, Zuccarello made a
reverse pass that had Price out of position for Richards to
score into an open side.

NOTES: Rangers center Derick Brassard left the game early in the
first period with an injury after a hit from Mike Weaver and
didn't return. Vigneault said he is day to day. ... The Rangers
went 3 for 7 on the power play after scoring only three times in
29 opportunities over their first 14 playoff games.

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