MONTREAL – Brian Gionta scored twice, Scott Gomez had two assists and Carey Price made 17 saves for a second straight shutout on home ice as the Montreal Canadiens ended the New York Rangers’ seven-game winning run with a 4-0 victory Saturday night.
Price, who posted a 25-save shutout in a 4-0 win over Carolina in his last start on Wednesday night, had another light workload to pick up his 14th career clean sheet.
The Rangers (10-4-3) lost for the first time in November. They were gunning to win eight in a row for the first time since 1974-75. The club record is 10 straight wins in 1972-73.
Erik Cole and Tomas Plekanec had power-play goals for Montreal (9-8-3), which has won eight of its last 12 games. The Canadiens’ penalty kill, which struggled early in the season, has now killed 31 in a row dating to a 5-3 loss to the Rangers in New York on Nov. 5.
Montreal had 31 shots on Martin Biron.
The Rangers’ winning streak looked in doubt from the opening period as the Canadiens came out skating hard and spending long stretches in the attacking zone.
Cole opened the scoring with his third power-play tally of the season as he took a strech pass from Yannick Weber and beat Biron with a snap to the top corner on the off-wing 3:45 into the game.
Gomez sent Gionta in on the right side and he picked the far corner with a low shot from a near-impossible angle on Biron, who immediately went to the bench to have his equipment adjusted. It was a 100th point as a Canadien for Gomez.
The struggling 31-year-old who was seeking his first goal since February had a breakaway early in the third but was thwarted by Biron.
After Plekanec scored on a point shot at 7:05, Gomez fed Gionta in the slot for his second of the game at 13:47.
Interesting moment in the third: After Price iced the puck, Michael Del Zotto waited and waited over the puck for 10 seconds to tick off a penalty. He was warned by the linesman, and then called for not advancing the puck, which put the ensuing faceoff in New York’s end.
Notes: A pre-game scoreboard tribute was made to former Canadiens trainer and equipment man Eddy Palchak, who died this week after a long illness. It drew a huge ovation and chants of ”Eddy Eddy.” . . . Defenceman Hal Gill, who was in hospital this week to treat an infected cut, missed a fourth game while Jaroslav Spacek (upper body) sat out a third and forward Andrei Kostitsyn missed a seventh. Andrei Markov and Chris Campoli are also out. . . . New York’s Marc Staal (concussion) has yet to play this season, while Mike Rupp (knee) and Wojtek Wolski (groin) are also out.