The injury riddled Montreal Canadiens pulled off a surprising win Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Friday night was a different story. With Tomas Plekanec, Hal Gill and Jeff Halpern not even making the trip to New York, Jacques Martin's already banged up squad had a more difficult Friday evening against the New York Rangers.
You knew it was going to be a difficult night, especially when Travis Moren and Brandon Prust dropped the gloves right off the opening faceoff.
On many instances, Carey Price has pulled up the slack to get his Canadiens teammates out of a jam. But the league's busiest goalie couldn't pull out another gem playing back-to-back nights.
By the time the first period had ended, the Rangers had a 5-1 lead and had chased a Hart Trophy contender out of the crease following three goals in 1:07. Price allowed all five goals on just a dozen shots, yielding the game to Alex Auld.
The rest of the team did not fair well either, in the first period, getting banged around by the Rangers and having just a pair of scoring chances to New York's 11.
Despite a four goal deficit, the Habs were not about to give up that quickly.
Montreal battled back, and Auld gave his team a chance to get back into the game. James Wisniewski scored at 4:16 of the second period, and a power play goal by captain Brian Gionta under a minute in to the third had fans, and probably the Rangers, recalling the Canadiens five-goal comeback against them in 2008.
Fate would not be in the Habs favor however, as the Rangers regrouped near the midway point of the final period and pressed to put the game away. Auld kept the door shut to give the Canadiens what few chances they had on just seven third period shots. Their best chance was stolen by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, when he sprawled across his crease to stop David Desharnais.
Any final opportunities were lost after Benoit Pouliot made a rush to the Rangers net. After being tripped up, and then hit by a Rangers player, the Canadiens forward was assessed a goalie interference penalty. A Vinny Prospal power play goal put the game beyond reach, and increased the Rangers record to 26-0-0 when leading after two periods.
There was some concern of injury to Lundqvist, as the team's trainer jumped the boards immediately in a "Bearcat" Murray fashion to attend to him. The Rangers netminder completed the game, giving their fans a sigh of releif.and has now won 30 games in his first six seasons in the NHL.
It was the Rangers first win over the Canadiens and six games, and prevented a season sweep by Montreal. Given the fact the Canadiens were missing some key bodies, they should be given a lot of credit for staying in the game and not laying down.
The Canadiens lead over New York, for sixth place in the Eastern Conference slips to five points, as they travel to Minnesota to face the Wild on Sunday.
The Rangers take from Blueshirt Banter and might I say, I really enjoyed this tweet from our Rangers counterparts on SBN; "Screw you Montreal, get the eff out of our building." Wow, and they all seem to think Habs fans are the worst fans in the NHL.
|05:28 NYR||Artem Anisimov, 17 (MTL: 45 57 31 58 53 68 NYR: 28 30 44 17 24 42)|
|07:11 MTL||P.k. Subban, 8 (Benoit Pouliot, 14 David Desharnais, 11) (MTL: 22 57 31 58 53 76 NYR: 28 20 10 30 44 26)|
|10:25 NYR||Dan Girardi, 4 (Erik Christensen, 13 Mats Zuccarello, 15) (MTL: 44 22 32 31 58 76 NYR: 30 26 17 18 5 36)|
|17:41 NYR||Marian Gaborik, 21 (Erik Christensen, 14 Vinny Prospal, 11) (MTL: 45 57 31 58 53 68 NYR: 20 10 30 26 38 27)|
|18:16 NYR||Brian Boyle, 21 (Marc Staal, 18 Brandon Prust, 15) (MTL: 44 13 20 46 31 81 NYR: 19 30 22 8 18 5)|
|17:09 NYR||Ryan Callahan, 22 (Artem Anisimov, 22 Brandon Dubinsky, 27) (MTL: 22 11 21 32 20 31 NYR: 30 17 24 18 5 42)|
|04:13 MTL||James Wisniewski, 9 (Roman Hamrlik, 27 Brian Gionta, 14) (MTL: 44 11 21 35 13 20 NYR: 30 17 24 18 5 42)|
|00:54 MTL||Brian Gionta, 26 (PP) (James Wisniewski, 36 Michael Cammalleri, 23) (MTL: 44 11 21 35 13 20 NYR: 30 22 8 18 5)|
|17:15 NYR||Vinny Prospal, 5 (PP) (Dan Girardi, 26 Marc Staal, 19) (MTL: 22 35 13 58 76 NYR: 20 10 30 24 18 5)|