NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers can relax -- for at least a day -- after tying the NHL Stanley Cup championship series with the Vancouver Canucks at a game apiece.
It took a short-handed goal by Glenn Anderson, an inspiring performance by goalie Mike Richter in the final period and a lot of physical attacks on Vancouver goalie Kirk McLean, but the Rangers beat the Canucks last night, 3-1.
The series moves to Vancouver for games 3 and 4 tomorrow and Tuesday nights. Game 5 will be back at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
"It was a big game for us," said Rangers captain Mark Messier. "But at this time of the year, they're all big. Now, the next game is the biggest.
"This series is going to be tight every game. We realize that and we know we have to play 60 minutes in order to win. You've got to do that against this team."
After the Rangers' 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1, there were boos from many in the sellout crowd of 18,200.
Last night, the fans cheered and left happy. But deep into the second and third periods, this game looked to be setting up as a carbon copy of the first.
Defenseman Doug Lidster scored his first goal of the 1993-94 season with 6:22 gone in the first period to give New York the early lead.
Rangers coach Mike Keenan said his team needed to convince McLean that he couldn't have another 52-save game as he had in Game 1.
So when the Rangers came out for the first period of last night's game, the first thing they did was go for McLean's body.
They bumped him and hooked him and poked him.
And then Lidster carried the puck into the crease and basically hurled McLean and the puck over the goal line for the 1-0 lead.
Canucks left wing Sergio Momesso tied it at 14:04 of the period. Then, 11:42 into the second, Vancouver made its big mistake of the night.
Center Trevor Linden gave up the puck while on the power play, and Messier streaked away for what would be the beginning of the end.
Messier overplayed the puck, but Anderson was trailing the play, and when Messier was able to pass the puck back to him, he put it away for the 2-1 lead on the short-handed game-winner.
"The second period was going much the way we wanted it to," said Linden. "Then I made a big mistake on the power play and they scored. That really turned the tide. That changed the game, but we had a lot of chances since then . . . and we really can't afford to dwell on the mistake I made. I have to be better in games 3 and 4."
Linden isn't alone. He and linemates Pavel Bure and Greg Adams had been one of the most productive threesomes of the postseason. But they have been quiet in this series.
In the end it was Richter who came through for New York. He had made 28 saves in Game 1, but no one had noticed, as McLean turned in his 52-save performance for a 3-2 overtime victory.
Last night, however, everyone noticed Richter and his 28 saves.
He stopped three series of back-to-back shots in the first minute of the final period. He stopped Bure point-blank.
STANLEY CUP FINALS
VANCOUVER VS. N.Y. RANGERS
(Series tied, 1-1)
Tuesday: Canucks 3, Rangers 2, OT
Yesterday: Rangers 3, Canucks 1
Tomorrow: at Vancouver, 8:08 p.m.
Tuesday: at Vancouver, 9:08 p.m.
Thursday: at N.Y. Rangers, 8:08 p.m.
June 11: at Vancouver, 8:08 p.m.*
June 14: at N.Y. Rangers, 8:08 p.m.*
* -- if necessary