MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens continue to enjoy life after the all-star break.
Carey Price stopped 35 shots for his fifth shutout of the season and Scott Gomez scored the game-winner against his former team as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the New York Rangers 2-0 Saturday.
After losing two in a row heading into the all-star break, Montreal has now won three in a row.
Price improved his record to 26-16-5 on the season. The bulk of his workload came in the third period when the Rangers out shot Montreal 19-6.
“When the team you’re playing is down by a goal that means a lot of pucks are going to be fired towards the net,” said Price. “My guys did an excellent job of boxing out and not letting them get to the rebounds.”
Tomas Plekanec had the other goal into an empty net for Montreal (30-21-4).
Martin Biron got the start in goal for the Rangers (29-18-5) and was solid in stopping 27 shots in the losing effort.
“It sucks they score a goal like that, we defended pretty well and we just need to give a little more and get ourselves out of the thing we are in where we lose one goal games,” said Biron.
Gomez scored the first goal of the game with just 1:16 left in the second period. An Alexandre Picard shot took a good bounce off the backboards, Gomez picked up the puck at the side of the net and went upstairs on Biron.
“Picard couldn’t hit the net and thank god I closed my eyes and kind of threw it at the net,” said Gomez. “Kind of funny because we work on that every practice, I guess we’ll have to keep going with that drill.”
Price made a big save on Sean Avery with under a minute left before Plekanec went the other way for his goal into the empty net.
The Habs have beaten New York in all three meetings this year and in six of the last seven overall.
New York’s power play was 0-for-4 in the game and they are now 1-for-35 over their past 11 road games. The power plays came during a stretch of four straight Montreal penalties in the second period when the game was scoreless.
“The power play, we had four, we had one or two shots and that hurts your offence,” said Rangers coach John Tortorella. “Five-on-five I thought we played a good hockey game, we generated chances but we don’t score. Our penalty kill was good, our power play was a letdown.”
Tortorella was impressed with the Canadiens.
“They are a good team, it could have gone either way,” he said. “You’ve got to find a way to win and that’s the bottom line.”
New York has recently gotten Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Vinny Prospal back into their lineup but it hasn’t translated to better play.
The Rangers have dropped four straight for the first time since a 0-2-2 stretch last March.
“We created some penalties by how hard we were working, not only did we not score we didn’t create momentum off it, that’s something we’re going to have to work on here and get better,” said defenceman Marc Staal.
Montreal is back in action Sunday as they wrap up a three-game homestand against the New Jersey Devils.
“We can’t be that satisfied, when you have the lead you can’t sit back,” said Gomez. “Give them credit, they don;t quit they are going to play right to the end and it showed but there’s some stuff we need to clear up and go over.”
New York doesn’t play until Monday when they’ll be in Detroit to take on the Red Wings.
Notes:Montreal’s James Wisniewski didn’t play because of the flu … Rangers captain Chris Drury remains sidelined with a knee injury. There’s no timetable for his return.