MONTREAL — Henrik Lundqvist has solved his struggles at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
The goalie called King Henrik made 40 saves and the New York Rangers took control of the Eastern Conference finals with a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.
The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 heading back to New York for Game 3 on Thursday and Game 4 on Sunday.
The Canadiens, missing star goalie Carey Price because of an injury, came out strong in a bid get past a 7-2 thumping in the series opener only to run into the Lundqvist.
“I thought we played well, and the only reason we lost was Lundqvist,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said.
“He stole that game.”
Lundqvist had struggled playing in Montreal before this series. He hadn’t started a game in Montreal in more than two years.
But the goalie who was bested by Price at the Sochi Olympics as Canada beat Sweden in the final has allowed only three goals on 63 shots in the series.
The Canadiens got the opening goal at 6:14 of the first from Max Pacioretty, but Ryan McDonagh tied it 17 seconds later on a shot that went in off defenseman Josh Gorges and a post.
“We knew they were going to come hard, but we put ourselves in a tough spot there by not getting pucks out,” Lundqvist said. “They were all over us.
“But to tie it up quickly like that, I think that was important to kind of even out the momentum a little bit.”
Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis also scored on Dustin Tokarski, the surprise starter for Montreal ahead of regular backup Peter Budaj.
Tokarski looked shaky at times, but had no chance on two of the three Rangers goals.
The Canadiens had announced Monday morning that Price, the Olympic gold medalist who hurt his right knee in the series opener when he was crashed into by Chris Kreider, would miss the rest of the series.
Playoff glance, B6