NEW YORK – Ryan Callahan and the New York Rangers broke out of their scoring drought in a big way – at the expense of the Montreal Canadiens.
Callahan had two goals and two assists, and Brandon Dubinsky added two goals and an assist to help the Rangers beat the Canadiens 6-2 on Sunday night, snapping their losing streak at three games.
The Rangers also snapped a goal-scoring drought at home of 147:02. The six goals were one more than they had in the previous five games combined, five more than they scored over their 0-2-1 run in the previous three games and the most since they had seven against Columbus at home Nov. 23.
Marian Gaborik added a goal and two assists, Chris Drury had a goal and an assist, and Vinny Prospal had two assists.
“I’m not going to say we’ve been frustrated because I’ve said all along I think we’re capable of scoring and playing well,” Dubinsky said. “We just had to stick with it and hope that it was going to break out. … Hopefully we can keep it going and keep putting the puck in the back of the net.”
Michael Cammalleri and Brian Gionta had first-period goals for the Canadiens.
“We played a strong very period and then we gave it away,” Montreal coach Jacques Martin said. “We had turnovers and a bad play selection. I think it’s a matter of us playing the type of hockey we are capable of.”
Both teams were coming off losses Saturday night.
“You never what points you’re going to need at the end,” Dubinsky said. “This is a team that we’re right there neck and neck with, and it’s a big four-point game as far as the conference goes.”
The Rangers, who have struggled with consistent production all season outside of Gaborik, outshot Montreal 34-20, including 15-2 in the second period when they scored three times.
Fifty-seven seconds into the period and eight seconds after the Canadiens killed off a penalty, the Rangers scored. Gaborik collected a loose puck behind the goal-line and sent it toward the net. The puck was in the crease and Callahan poked it over the line before goalie Jaroslav Halak swiped it back out.
“He ignited us,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said about Callahan. “He did a lot of good things.”
The Rangers then added a short-handed goal on a 4-on-3 skating situation. Callahan picked up a loose puck off a draw in the Rangers’ zone, pushed the puck ahead to himself and broke in on Halak. When Halak couldn’t control Callahan’s point-blank shot, Dubinsky tapped it out of the air and into the net at the 8:28 mark.
Just 2:36 later, Dubinsky scored again. Vinny Prospal carried the puck around defenceman Jaroslav Spacek and centred perfectly to the right doorstep, and Dubinsky buried it for his 10th goal of the season and the 3-2 lead.
Callahan scored his second and 12th of the season 26 seconds into a power play early in the third period, but it wasn’t credited as a goal until a play stoppage with two seconds left in the man advantage. A video review showed the puck had made just it past the goal-line. Dubinsky later set up Gaborik on a 2-on-1 break for his 29th goal of the season, breaking a five-game scoreless streak. Then Callahan set up Drury for a goal with 4:11 left to cap the scoring.
“We scored some goals, and we got so much energy,” Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “You feel energy in the building. We feel energy on the ice, on the bench. You get confidence.”
Cammalleri gave Montreal a 1-0 lead 3:30 into the game after he took a perfect lead pass from Tomas Plekanec from near the top of the right circle and put the puck past Lundqvist (18 saves). The Canadiens scored again on a power play with 5:10 left in the period. Gionta batted in a rebound of a Marc-Andre Bergeron drive from the point. The goal was upheld after a video review to check if Gionta scored with a high stick.
“It’s just one of those things where it wasn’t our night,” said Montreal centre Scott Gomez, playing his first game back at the Garden since the Rangers traded him in June. “They beat us to everything in the second.”
NOTES: Gomez talked about his return before the game. “It probably was a little different going back to Jersey because I was there so long,” Gomez said. The Garden crowd booed him every time he touched the puck on the first shift. “I got traded,” Gomez said. “It wasn’t like I wanted to go. … I loved my time here.” … Canadiens defenceman Roman Hamrlik played his 1,200 NHL game, the 29th defenceman and 83rd player overall to reach the milestone.