Canadiens overwhelmed in East final finale | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaCanadiens overwhelmed in East final finale

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 | 11:21 PM

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Marc Staal (18) of the New York Rangers shakes hands P.K. Subban (76) of the Montreal Canadiens after winning Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final on Thursday in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Marc Staal (18) of the New York Rangers shakes hands P.K. Subban (76) of the Montreal Canadiens after winning Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final on Thursday in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The Montreal Canadiens didn't have much life in Game 6 of the East final. As a result, it's the Rangers moving on to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 20 years.

For the 21st year in a row, there is no springtime joy for the Montreal Canadiens and their faithful.

The dream for Montrealers, to see their beloved Habs back in the Stanley Cup final for the first time since the Canadiens celebrated a championship in 1993, died at Madison Square Garden on Thursday evening.

A goal from former Canadiens forward Dominic Moore late in the second period was enough for a 1-0 Rangers victory that clinched the East final in six games.

The only Canadian-based team in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs made a valiant run. But unlike in the previous three games where they faced elimination and won, they failed to muster much offence. They appeared too tight. They were too sloppy with their puck movement, had too many turnovers and did not establish their forecheck.

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The Canadiens only put 18 shots on goal. They couldn't solve the Rangers on this night.

Montreal's best opportunity arrived in the second period with the game still goal-less and Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek in close, but Blueshirts goalie Henrik Lundqvist dropped his stick to make an acrobatic blocker save.

A few shifts later, Moore knocked in a pass from linemate Brian Boyle after a good pinch from Rangers defenceman Ryan McDonagh. The Rangers' fourth line caught Montreal's fourth line as well as the defence pairing of Andrei Markov and Francis Bouillon running around.

Tokarski kept Habs in it

After that, there wasn't much of a push from the Canadiens, even though they opened the final 20 minutes with a power play. The best player for Montreal in Game 6 was goalie Dustin Tokarski, who kept his teammates in the game with another strong outing in the absence of injured starter Carey Price.

So instead of the Canadiens forcing a seventh and deciding game like they did in the second round against the favoured Boston Bruins, it's the Rangers who move on to their first Stanley Cup final in two decades.

Fittingly, the man who led that team to the 1993-94 championship, Mark Messier, was in the house to watch this Rangers club get the job done.

Blueshirts await winner of West

The Rangers will have to wait to see whether they will face the Los Angeles Kings or Chicago Blackhawks when the Stanley Cup final begins Wednesday. The Kings lead the West final 3-2 with Game 6 in Los Angeles on Friday night (CBC,, 8:30 p.m. ET).

Whichever team prevails in the West, the Rangers will no doubt be the underdogs.

Still, the Rangers have become a team with so many good storylines:

  • The 32-year-old Moore scored his second game-winner of this post0season. He was an important player four years ago in helping the Habs find a spot in the East final and he's back playing inspired hockey, 16 months after he lost his wife, Katie, to a rare form of liver cancer.
  • Martin St. Louis also has been forced to deal with loss, as his mother, France, unexpectedly passed away at age 63 earlier this month. The soon-to-be 39-year-old St. Louis kept playing with a heavy heart and has inspired his teammates. Since his mom's passing, the Rangers have won seven of their nine games.
  • While this season marks the 20th anniversary of the last Rangers Stanley Cup crown, this also happens to be the 10th anniversary of St. Louis's and Brad Richards's championship run with the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning. They're back in the final a decade later.
  • Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault also is back in the final, three years after he steered the Vancouver Canucks to a seven-game loss to the Boston Bruins. This is Vigneault's first season with the Rangers and he has made the most of his change of address after the Canucks fired him a year ago.
  • Finally, and this is the most painful for the Canadiens' faithful, isthe play of McDonagh. The 2007 Montreal first-round draft pick (12 overall) was dealt to the Rangers in the trade that sent underachiever Scott Gomez to the Canadiens on June 30, 2009. Under Vigneault, the 24-year-old McDonagh had his best offensive season with 14 goals and 43 points in 77 regular-season games. He has been even better in the playoffs and finished the six-game series against Montreal with a whopping 10 points.

Ouch. That makes this spring in hockey-mad Montreal all the more painful.

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