2017 NHL Playoffs: Montreal Canadiens beat New York Rangers on Alexander Radulov's OT goal

By Heather Engel, The Sports Xchange  |  April 15, 2017 at 12:59 AM
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MONTREAL -- The comeback kings in the regular season, the Montreal Canadiens proved it yet again on Friday night.

Trailing 3-2 with the clocking ticking down in regulation and an 2-0 series deficit looming, the Canadiens tied it with 18 seconds remaining in the third period before Alexander Radulov sent the Bell Centre crowd into a frenzy with his goal with 1:26 left in the first overtime period to give Montreal a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers.

"We definitely played strong," said Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty, who fed Radulov for the winning goal. "We had a lot of chances to ice that in overtime and Henrik (Lundqvist) played really, really well, made a lot of really big saves. But we stuck with it."

After taking the feed from Pacioretty, Radulov was able to jam the puck into the goal from the edge of the crease to end the game.

The series is now tied 1-1, with Game 3 set for Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

"I'm happy that we won and we won here in front of our fans and tied up the series," Radulov said. "(But) nothing's done yet. It's 1-1 and now we go into their building and it's going to be hard. We've got to play like we played in the last 10 minutes of the third and in overtime, play smart hockey and play more in their zone than in ours."

Michael Grabner, Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello scored in regulation for the Rangers while New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 54 shots -- 29 of which came in the third period and overtime.

"I think we could have been better," Rangers winger J.T. Miller said of his team's effort in the extra frame. "They were doing a good job on the forecheck, making it hard on us and keeping a lot of pucks on the wall. So, when that happens, it's easy for them to sustain pressure and when we do get it out, it's easy for them to come right back at us."

Jeff Petry, Paul Byron and Tomas Plekanec replied for Montreal. Carey Price made 35 saves.

The Rangers got off to a better start than in the series opener, controlling the play and getting the game's first three shots.

But Montreal made the most of an opportunity to score its first goal of the series. With Lundqvist's stick broken behind his net, Petry took a Phillip Danault feed in the right circle and waited before wiring one into the net at 4:05.

A bobbled play by the Canadiens opened the door for the Rangers to tie the game at 13:48. After taking a bouncing pass that landed in his skates, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu dove to keep the puck in at the blue line but was beaten to it by Grabner, who skated up the ice and deked Price before slipping it behind him.

Byron made it 2-1 Canadiens when he turned a perfect backhand feed from Brendan Gallagher behind the net into a shot from the right circle less than two minutes later.

The game's feistiness reached a new level in the second period. Shortly after Kevin Hayes had a chance to tie the game, a battle in the corner led to Shea Weber unleashing on J.T. Miller, with Zuccarello and Steve Ott also engaging in pushing and shoving.

Nash tied it shortly thereafter. With the Canadiens slow to change, Nick Holden sent the sniper a stretch pass and Nash took advantage of an out-of-position hit by Montreal to send one glove side on Price.

Zuccarello gave the Rangers their first lead of the night at 14:47 when he redirected Brendan Smith's shot-pass from the point into the net.

With Price off for the extra attacker, Canadiens coach Claude Julien sent Plekanec out for a shift and it paid off.

The veteran center brought the Bell Centre to a roar when he tied it with a redirect of Radulov's pass with 18 seconds remaining in regulation. The goal set a Canadiens record for the latest game-tying goal in the franchise's playoff history, eclipsing Jacques Lemaire's previous mark of 24 seconds set in 1975.

"He was winning a lot of draws for us," Julien said of the decision to send him out. "We wanted to start with the puck and that's why I put him there. I thought also he was having a good game. He's been put in those situations before; he's very capable of playing the power play as well but we use him a lot for the penalty kill, for his faceoffs, and for his defensive expertise."

"It's hard," said Lundqvist of the late equalizer. "The way it started was tough, too. Broken stick, they tie it with a broken stick in front so obviously some more luck there. We made some good plays, too, to stay in this game and we had a good chance to win it. I think they did a good job of keeping pucks in tonight and that's where we got hurt."

NOTES: Montreal kept the same lineup, leaving C Torrey Mitchell, W/C Brian Flynn, RW Michael McCarron and D Brandon Davidson as the healthy scratches. ... The Rangers kept their winning lineup intact, scratching C Brandon Pirri, LW Pavel Buchnevich, LW Matt Puempel, D Adam Clendening and D Kevin Klein.

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