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New York
Rangers
43-30-9
Montréal
Canadiens
41-30-11

20 SOG
39 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
NYR
MTL
game recap

Habs make it a long night for Blueshirts in Montreal

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM
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Habs make it a long night for Blueshirts in Montreal
New York Rangers 2, Montréal Canadiens 6

• PHOTO GALLERY

By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com

Playing their second straight contest in as many nights against a top Eastern Conference foe, the Rangers dropped a 6-2 decision to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at the Bell Centre. Only 24 hours earlier, the Rangers had defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in the shootout at Madison Square Garden.

“We have cherished these opportunities in the past to step up with a big team like the Montreal Canadiens and respond to it, but we were unable to do that tonight,” said Rangers head coach Tom Renney.

The Rangers spotted the high-flying Canadiens a 4-0 lead before Markus Naslund and Nigel Dawes scored in the second period to cut the deficit to two. But before the Rangers could seriously consider replicating a comeback similar to the one they had last Feb. 3 at the Bell Centre, Robert Lang scored just 49 seconds into the third to give Montreal a 5-2 lead. In that contest last season, the Rangers had erased a 3-0 disadvantage en-route to a 5-3 victory.

Matt D’Agostini scored his second goal of the season with 49.5 seconds remaining for the final goal tonight.

“They were good, real good,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist said of the Canadiens. “But we made them really good, too. We gave the puck away way too many times in our own zone, and they were all over us.”

Playing for the second straight night against a tough conference opponent, the Rangers’ task grew more difficult when defenseman Wade Redden was forced out of the game during the second period with a lower body injury. Redden did not return to the game, and word was not immediately available as to the nature or extent of his injury.

With the Canadiens celebrating their 100th anniversary this season, the organization held a 15-minute on-ice ceremony prior to the opening face-off to salute the long, storied rivalry of the Rangers and Canadiens. Both teams lined up on their respective blue lines as legends from the two Original Six franchises were introduced to the sold out crowd at the Bell Centre.

Rangers greats Andy Bathgate, Rod Gilbert, Brad Park, Harry Howell, and Ron Greschner took part in the classy ceremony. And Guy Lafleur, Serge Savard, and Henri Richard were among those who represented the Canadiens.

After Richard dropped a ceremonial first puck between captains Chris Drury and Saku Koivu, the fans were treated to classic renderings of the U.S. and Canadian National Anthems. A videotape of Roger Doucet performing both anthems prior to one of the games at the Montreal Forum from the 1979 Stanley Cup Finals between the Rangers and Canadiens played on the scoreboard. It was a unique and special final touch before this evening’s match got underway.

When the puck was finally dropped, it was clear which team was more fresh and ready to play. To the delight of the home crowd, the Canadiens roared out of the starting gate, out-chanced the Rangers badly, pelted Lundqvist with 15 shots, and scored all three goals in the opening period.

“They were ready for the game today, and they outworked us all over the ice,” said defenseman Dan Girardi. “We kind of left Hank out to dry there, and we can’t do that to him because he is one of the best goalies in the league.”

Andrei Kostitsyn, who recorded four shots on goal in the first 20 minutes, opened the scoring at 9:52. Charging hard to the net, Kostitsyn redirected D’Agostini’s centering pass up and over Lundqvist’s shoulder for his sixth goal of the season, despite solid defensive positioning by Girardi.

Less than a minute later Montreal’s fourth line produced a goal that gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead. Montreal’s Maxim Lapierre scooted up right wing after batting the puck past Rangers defenseman Dmitri Kalinin at the Canadiens blueline. Lapierre drove to the Rangers net, patiently let a diving Paul Mara slide on by, and then sent a shot toward the net that deflected off of Steve Begin and over the goal line. Begin’s fourth goal came at 10:47, and the Rangers were in a two-goal hole midway through the opening stanza.

Their deficit grew larger at 17:37 when Alex Tanguay potted his ninth goal after a scramble in front left Lundqvist out of position.

“If you compared the two teams, one looked like an NHL team and the other like a non-NHL team,” Lundqvist said. “I don’t know what was missing. A lot of things, I think. They were all over us.”

Under siege for much of the period, Lundqvist actually made several stellar saves, and if not for him, the Rangers could have been trailing by a much larger margin. Lundqvist made two terrific stops on Tom Kostopoulos, who played a strong first period, and another excellent pair on Kostitsyn.

Looking for a better start in the second period, the Rangers were burned once again by the fourth line of Montreal and fell behind 4-0 just 3:35 into the middle stanza. Rugged Georges Laraque fired a right wing shot that was stopped by Lundqvist, who then was bumped by Begin as Lapierre hammered the rebound into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season.

Lundqvist was furious with the non-call by the officials, but kept his focus well enough to turn in a sensational 13-save stanza that helped the Blueshirts pull themselves back into the game.

The Rangers, spurred on by Petr Prucha’s fight with Lapierre at 10:58 and Scott Gomez’s wrestling match with Koivu at 15:51, as well as by Lundqvist’s heroics in goal, were able to shave the Canadiens’ lead in half before the second intermission arrived.

Naslund got the Rangers on the scoreboard by netting his team-leading 10th goal at 13:02 of the second. Naslund deflected Mara’s power-play shot past Montreal goalie Carey Price, and the Rangers had some life.

After Lundqvist robbed Koivu, D’Agostini, Kostitsyn, and Tanguay over a 40-second span following Naslund’s goal, the Rangers struck again before the period was complete. Dawes scored at 18:43, off a gorgeous feed by Nikolai Zherdev, to pull the Rangers within 4-2. Dawes was back in the lineup after being scratched in the previous five matches. He took the place of Blair Betts, who did not play due to an upper-body injury.

Although it seemed a comeback might be in the making, the Rangers were stymied in the third period. Now they head home for a two-day break in the schedule before hosting Mike Keenan’s Calgary Flames on Sunday night at MSG.

scoring summary
1st Period
09:52
MTL
Andrei Kostitsyn (6) ASST: Matt D'Agostini (1), Andrei Markov (15)
1 - 0 MTL
10:47
MTL
Steve Begin (4) ASST: Maxim Lapierre (2), Georges Laraque (1)
2 - 0 MTL
17:37
MTL
Alex Tanguay (9) ASST: Roman Hamrlik (6), Tom Kostopoulos (4)
3 - 0 MTL
2nd Period
03:35
MTL
Maxim Lapierre (4) ASST: Steve Begin (2), Georges Laraque (2)
4 - 0 MTL
13:02
NYR
PPG - Markus Naslund (10) ASST: Paul Mara (8), Scott Gomez (13)
4 - 1 MTL
18:43
NYR
Nigel Dawes (3) ASST: Nikolay Zherdev (16), Chris Drury (7)
4 - 2 MTL
3rd Period
00:49
MTL
Robert Lang (8) ASST: Andrei Markov (16), Alex Kovalev (14)
5 - 2 MTL
19:10
MTL
Matt D'Agostini (2) ASST: NONE
6 - 2 MTL
penalty summary
1st Period
05:23
NYR
Paul Mara  Tripping against  Matt D'Agostini
13:21
NYR
Aaron Voros  Roughing against  Patrice Brisebois
2nd Period
09:01
MTL
Mathieu Dandenault  Tripping against  Brandon Dubinsky
10:58
NYR
Petr Prucha  Fighting (maj) against  Maxim Lapierre
10:58
MTL
Maxim Lapierre  Fighting (maj) against  Petr Prucha
11:45
MTL
Steve Begin  Hooking against  Colton Orr
15:51
MTL
Saku Koivu  Roughing against  Scott Gomez
15:51
MTL
Saku Koivu  Roughing against  Scott Gomez
15:51
NYR
Scott Gomez  Roughing against  Saku Koivu
15:51
NYR
Scott Gomez  Roughing against  Saku Koivu
3rd Period
13:19
NYR
Scott Gomez  Cross checking against  Andrei Markov
goalie stats
Henrik Lundqvist
SA: 39TOI: 60:00
Saves: 33EV: 30 - 36
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .846SH: 0 - 0
Carey Price
Carey Price
13-4-3
SA: 20TOI: 59:44
Saves: 18EV: 16 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 2
SV%: .900SH: 1 - 1
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