RANGERS SETTLE FOR ONE POINT IN MONTREAL
|Marian Gaborik scores the fourth and final Rangers goal with a beautiful move to beat Habs goalie Jaroslav Halak in Saturday night's second period.
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By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Michael Cammalleri’s goal at 2:42 of overtime -- his third of the night -- led the Montreal Canadiens past the Rangers 5-4 on Saturday evening at the Bell Centre. The Rangers had held leads of 3-1 and 4-2 before dropping the final decision.
“I think mentally we have to stay with it a little better when we have the lead,” said Rangers captain Chris Drury
. “We have to learn to protect the lead, especially on the road, and especially in this building where momentum can change so fast.”
Left alone in the slot, Cammalleri ripped a shot into the top of the net behind Henrik Lundqvist
for the game-deciding goal. The loss was the Rangers third in a row, although they did receive a point for pushing the game into overtime. Montreal has now won three straight.
“He just beat me, fair and square,” said Lundqvist, who made 26 saves, including a pair in the extra session. “When you give a player like that time and space, it’s tough.”
The Rangers had several chances to snap the 4-4 deadlock in the third period, but Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halak came up big for his club. At the seven-minute mark of the third, Halak positioned himself perfectly to smother Ales Kotalik’s booming slap shot after an own-zone turnover by Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik. Then at 10:48 Halak deftly denied Drury’s tip of a Michal Rozsival
slap shot that seemed destined for the back of the net.
Moments later Lundqvist did his part to keep the contest tied, making a pair of excellent stops on Brian Gionta at the 13:38 mark. He also robbed Guillaume Latendresse’s point-blank chance with his right toe with three minutes left in regulation.
After surrendering the first goal of the game just 4:16 into play -- and being outshot at that point by a 5-2 margin -- the Rangers pulled themselves together with some good, old-fashioned hard work and scored three goals of their own before the period was over to grab a 3-1 lead. The Rangers also recorded 10 of the final 11 shots in the opening period, holding Montreal to just one following the game-opening score.
Cammalleri put the Canadiens up 1-0 by completing a strong rush up ice with linemates Scott Gomez and Gionta. Gomez, the former Rangers center, fed a soft pass to Gionta on left wing in the Rangers’ zone, and Gionta followed by sweeping a pass into the slot after falling to the ice. The pass found Cammalleri, who skated into an open spot behind Drury and buried his third goal of the season into the gaping cage.
The Rangers scored the equalizer at 9:22 of the first after a ferocious forecheck by the club’s fourth line. Brian Boyle
, Aaron Voros, and Artem Anisimov
pinned the Canadiens behind their own net for an extended period before the puck came out to Rozsival at the right point. Rozsival fired a slap shot that was denied by Halak’s left pad, but Anisimov jumped on the rebound and sent a bad-angle shot off Halak’s arm and into the net for his second goal of the season, tying the game 1-1.
Another excellent forecheck that pinned the Canadiens deep in their own end -- this time by Drury, Sean Avery
, and Kotalik -- led to the go-ahead goal for the Rangers at 14:42. Following a strong keep at the right point by a leaping Dan Girardi
, Avery collected a pass behind the net and then found Kotalik flying into the slot for a quick one-timer past Halak for his fifth goal, and a 2-1 Rangers lead.
scored his second goal of the season with 57.7 seconds left in the opening period to boost the visitors’ lead to 3-1. Marian Gaborik
and Vinny Prospal
did the work along the boards this time, with Prospal eventually working the puck back to Gilroy at the right point. The rookie defenseman coolly skated to his left, let a screen set up in front, and then ripped a slap shot past Halak for the score.
Roles were reversed in the second period, as it was the Canadiens who scored three times and the Rangers once, thus producing a 4-4 stalemate after 40 minutes of wild play.
Lundqvist was under siege early in the middle stanza, making four big saves in a 30-second span around the four-minute mark to keep the Rangers’ lead at two. However, Matt D’Agostini converted a 2-on-2 break at 8:48 to bring Montreal back within a goal.
“They just feed from the crowd and they come back and they’re just all over us,” said Lundqvist.
On the play, which began in the neutral zone with D’Agostini poking the puck off Brandon Dubinsky
’s stick and concluded with D’Agostini bursting to the net to bury Maxim Lapierre’s pass, Lundqvist was barreled into by the combination of Dubinsky and Lapierre. Lundqvist remained down on the ice favoring his right foot for several minutes, and was attended to by team trainer Jim Ramsey before remaining in the game.
“It’s a turnover in the neutral zone by Dubi that just can’t happen,” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. “We have stressed that, especially after the last game. It’s just a huge momentum swing.”
Gaborik gave Lundqvist some breathing room with a breakaway goal at 11:56, a stunningly artistic play in which Gaborik tipped Enver Lisin’s pass behind his back and around Hamrlik to spring himself on the breakaway. Gaborik’s eighth goal of the season restored New York’s two-goal lead for less than four minutes as Marc-Andre Bergeron powered a slap shot past Lundqvist during a 5-on-3 Montreal power play at 15:26.
Skating with confidence, and the momentum, Montreal tied the game at 4-4 with 1:02 left in the middle period on Cammalleri’s second of the night, off another odd-man rush.
“We lost momentum by beating ourselves,” said Tortorella.
As the Rangers tried in vain to move back ahead, Tortorella decided to sit both Dubinsky and Christopher Higgins each for the entire third period. Tortorella said after the game that both players made too many costly mistakes and had helped swing momentum back to the Canadiens during the second period.
“There has to be some consequences,” said Tortorella. “We have to go with the guys that are doing the things to help us win the hockey game.”
With a record of 7-3-1, good for 15 points and second place in the Atlantic Division, the Rangers will return to action on Monday night at Madison Square Garden against the Phoenix Coyotes.
|Three star selections