The New York Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 20 years with a playoff series-clinching 1-0 defeat of the Montreal Canadiens.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 18 shots for his ninth career playoff shutout and Dominic Moore scored the game’s only goal with about two minutes remaining in the second period.
The home win last night at Madison Square Garden allowed the Rangers to win the Eastern Conference championship four games to two. They had not been to the Stanley Cup Finals since they won the title in 1994 against the Vancouver Canucks.
“It feels unbelievable, I think we played one of the best periods in the whole playoffs in the third period,” Lundqvist said in a televised interview as fans chanted “we want the cup.”
It was the 42nd postseason victory for Lundqvist, 32, a franchise record.
New York will face the Los Angeles Kings or the defending-champion Chicago Blackhawks for the National Hockey League title. The Kings lead the Western Conference finals three games to two, with Game 6 tonight at Los Angeles.
The best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals will begin June 4.
“We stuck with it, we kept playing, we kept going at them,” Rangers defenseman Mark Staal told reporters after the Rangers outshot the Canadiens 32-18. “We got to keep in mind, it’s hardest to win that fourth one.”