Rangers strike first against Devils in Eastern Conference finals

NEW YORK —Rangers rookie Chris Kreider and defenseman Dan Girardi both had a goal and an assist in the third period, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 21 shots for his fifth career playoff shutout, as weary New York opened the Eastern Conference finals with a 3-0 victory over the well-rested New Jersey Devils on Monday night.

Playing just two days after eliminating Washington in a stirring 2-1 Game 7 victory, the top-seeded Rangers hit their home ice again and won their third consecutive Game 1 of these playoffs.

The sixth-seeded Devils had been off for five days since they knocked out the Philadelphia Flyers in five games.

Game 2 is Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

CAPITALS: Dale Hunter quit as coach after less than one full season in the job, tel­ling the team he wants to return to his family in Canada.

“It was the right thing to do,” Hunter said.

He is the owner of the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, a junior hockey team playing for the Memorial Cup.

One of his three children is an assistant coach with the Knights, and Hunter’s brother Mark took over as head coach when Hunter left to join the Capitals in November, replacing the fired Bruce Boudreau.

“I’m going home,” Hunter said, a couple of hours after delivering the news to Cap­itals general manager George McPhee.

“I’ve got a good thing going there with the family, so I’ll stay home.”

The Capitals went 30-23-7 in the regular season.

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