- Associated Press - Monday, May 26, 2014

MONTREAL (AP) - When other parts of their game are sputtering, the New York Rangers have two key assets to fall back on - penalty killing and goaltending.

It’s a combo that has put them within one victory of their first Stanley Cup final in 20 years. And it has frustrated the Montreal Canadiens, who must win Game 5 Tuesday at the Bell Centre to stave off elimination.

Against the Rangers, the Canadiens are 1 for 17 with the man advantage.

Montreal’s lone power-play goal came Sunday night in a 3-2 overtime loss at Madison Square Garden. That P.K. Subban blast from the point, however, was tempered by a short-handed goal by Carl Hagelin that opened the scoring.

The Canadiens’ power play went 1 for 8 on a night when the Rangers spent 14½ minutes or almost 22 percent of the game a man short.

“Give credit to our killers and our goaltender,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “They did a real good job.”

That is nothing new. Before Subban’s goal, the Rangers had killed off 27 straight penalties. New York is 37 for 39 (95 percent) on the penalty kill in its past 12 games

“We had the opportunity on the power play but we didn’t take advantage of it,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien. “Yes, we scored a goal. It was a tying goal, but we gave up one, and that was the story of the game. I thought our power play had to be better.”

The Rangers’ go-to forward pairing on the penalty kill is Hagelin and Brian Boyle. Hagelin uses his speed while Boyle’s resume reads “big body, blocks shots, good on faceoffs,” according to Vigneault.

Boyle can also pass a bit, finding Hagelin on a pass deep from the New York end. Hagelin broke in alone, faked a shot and tucked a backhand between the legs of Dustin Tokarski at 7:18 for his sixth goal of the playoffs. It was the Rangers’ first short-handed goal in 70 playoff games, dating to 2008.

The New York penalty kill is smart and sleek. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has worked hard on his puck handling and his defenders are positioned well.

“I think our guys do a good job whether it be on the forecheck coming back in the right positions and trying to create those battles where you’ve a chance to make a couple plays and get it out,” Vigneault said. “When we don’t, (our) goaltender stops the puck.”

In four games, Montreal has seven goals on 107 shots.

While Tokarski has won kudos for his play in stepping in for the injured Carey Price, Lundqvist’s playoffs numbers are sparkling - a .931 save percentage and 1.98 goals-against average.

The Canadiens are going to need Tokarski to continue to play well if they want to extend their season.

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