The Rangers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by diminutive dynamos Martion St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello during a first period in which they had a 12-6 shot advantage.
After Rene Bourque's goal cut the lead to one, Chris Kreider and Brad Richards beat Carey Price in the last 61 seconds of the second period.
Peter Budaj replaced Price for the third period and surrendered three power-play goals.
Lars Eller got one during Garbage Time.
The Rangers outshot the Canadiens 28-22 and dominated from start to finish.
Pouring it on
Within the first five minutes, the Rangers got power-play goals from Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan and Rick Nash to snuff any remotre hope of a CH miracle.
Peter Budaj had replaced Carey Price for the final 20 minutes.
Lars Eller scored a lovely unassisted goal long after it mattered.
Rene Bourque brought the building to life when he beat Henrik Lundqvist to make it a one-goal game.
The euphoria didn't last.
After withstanding some pressure, the Rangers got two goals – from Chris Kreider and Brad Richards – in the period's last 61 seconds.
Canadiens outshot the visitors 10-8.
Game 2 is Monday night.
These ain't the Bruins
The Rangers used their speed and forechecking tenacity to dominate the home team for 20 minutes.
Shots were 12-6 and the visitors got goals, into wide-open nets, by Martin St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello.
Rene Bourque took two hooking penalties.
The Canadiens were awful.
Buckle up for a fast ride
Your Montreal Canadiens face a Conference final opponent that eschews rock 'em/sock 'em intimidation in favour of skating and skill.
Not unlike your Montreal Canadiens.
The Rangers have excellent team speed, epitomized by ageless Martin St. Louis.
New York has a red-hot goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist, who was as brilliant against Pittsburgh as Carey Price was against Boston ... and David Krejci is no Sidney Crosby.
The Rangers have a solid, six-deep defence corps, led by – pause for gnashing of teeth – Ryan McDonagh.
And Alain Vigneault is a good coach.
The teams are very evenly matched, and fans can look forward to fast-paced, entertaining and thuggery-free hockey.
It's an early afternoon start to accommodate NBC. Puck drops 1:10ish.
• Every remaining game in the series will begin at 8 p.m. There will be two-day gaps between Games 2-3 and 3-4. Game 7, if it goes that far, will be on Sunday, May 31.
• Pre-game reading: The great Teemu Selanne talks about his career, including unfond memories of Pierre Gauthier. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick tweeted: Congrats to Teemu on a HOF career, it was an honor to play against him.
Do you suppose Quick threatened to kill Selanne in the handshake line?