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    Martin St. Louis’s OT strike propels Rangers

    In the middle of the Rangers’ celebration is overtime hero Martin St. Louis.
    AL BELLO/Getty Images
    In the middle of the Rangers’ celebration is overtime hero Martin St. Louis.

    NEW YORK — Martin St. Louis put the Rangers within one win of the Stanley Cup Final, scoring 6:02 into overtime to give New York a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night.

    A loose puck came to St. Louis, the Rangers’ inspirational postseason leader, alone in the right circle and he fired a snap shot over goalie Dustin Tokarski’s shoulder.

    ‘‘I just got open,’’ said St. Louis, who has 39 career playoff goals. ‘‘I tried to trust my instincts. I hit some good shots, he made some good saves. I was fortunate this one got by him.’’


    The Rangers, who lead the series, 3-1, were forced to overtime for the second straight game despite holding a pair of one-goal leads. New York lost Game 3 at home.

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    Carl Hagelin put the Rangers in front with a shorthanded goal in the first period, and Derick Brassard made it 2-1 in the second. Hagelin also assisted on St. Louis’s goal.

    Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves and earned his 41st postseason win, tying the franchise record of Mike Richter, who was in attendance.

    St. Louis and Hagelin are tied for the team lead with six playoff goals.

    The Rangers are 6-1 since the unexpected death of St. Louis’s mother galvanized the team.


    Francis Bouillon tied it for Montreal in the second, and fellow defenseman P.K. Subban made it 2-2 in the third with a power-play goal. David Desharnais assisted on both for Montreal. Tokarski stopped 26 shots for the Canadiens, who went 1 for 8 on the power play.

    New York can advance to the Cup Final with a win at Montreal in Game 5 on Tuesday night. The Rangers, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit against Pittsburgh in the second round, won the first two games of this series there.

    Now they hope to end it quickly north of the border.

    ‘‘We’ve got to close it,’’ St. Louis said

    Though there were 13 minor penalties, there was no carry-over of the nastiness in Game 3 when a hit by Montreal’s Brandon Prust broke the jaw of New York forward Derek Stepan. Prust served the first game of a two-game suspension. Stepan sat out after having surgery.


    The Rangers gave Montreal five power plays through the first two periods, and New York’s penalty-killers stood tall as they have for most of the playoffs. But the sixth Canadiens advantage produced the tying goal two minutes into the third when Subban scored his first goal of the series and first point in six games.

    That broke the Rangers’ run of 27 straight killed penalties, dating to Game 2 of the second round. New York turned aside Montreal moments later when Brad Richards was off for tripping.

    Montreal nearly grabbed the lead when Alex Galchenyuk struck the crossbar with 3:17 left in regulation.