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Habs win 5th straight in victory over Rangers
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Rookie Alex Galchenyuk scored the tie-breaking goal early in the third period as the Montreal Canadiens posted their fifth straight victory with a 3-1 decision over the New York Rangers from Madison Square Garden.
Galchenyuk, the third overall pick of the 2012 draft, potted his second career NHL marker 1:48 into the final session to snap a 1-1 deadlock. Raphael Diaz sealed the win with an empty-net tally with 1:06 left, while Max Pacioretty also lit the lamp to help back a solid 24-save effort from Habs goaltender Carey Price.
"I think we're just sticking to our system in every game," said Price. "Obviously that's been working for us and we're seeing success from that. It's easy to stick with it when you see it works."
Henrik Lundqvist stopped just 15-of-17 shots for New York, which had a string of five straight outings in which it registered at least one point (4-0-1) halted.
Anton Stralman recorded the lone goal for a Rangers team that played without star sniper Rick Nash due to an undisclosed injury.
"They shut the neutral zone down really good tonight," said New York defenseman Marc Staal. "And when we were able to get into their zone they limited our lanes and we couldn't get a lot of good opportunities."
Galchenyuk's game-winner came on a 3-on-2 breakout by Montreal created by Lars Eller's blocked shot of New York's Marc Staal, with the 19-year-old receiving a feed from ex-Ranger Brandon Prust and rocketing the puck past Lundqvist.
New York had a prime opportunity to pull even after the Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec was penalized for tripping with 3:06 to play, but Diaz sealed the outcome by firing the puck into the vacated net from his own end as the power play was ending.
After a scoreless and uneventful first period in which the teams combined for just eight shots, Stralman broke the tie with 6:31 left in the second. The defenseman beat Price in close after taking in a well-placed centering pass from Derek Stepan.
Montreal would answer late in the frame, however, when Josh Gorges hit Pacioretty for a one-timer that forged a 1-1 tie with 1:15 remaining before the second intermission.
Prust returned to Madison Square Garden for the first time since signing a four-year contract with Montreal in July. The forward had spent the previous three seasons with the Rangers ... Montreal snapped a three-game losing streak at MSG and ended a string of seven straight in the series in which the home team had prevailed ... Rangers forward Brandon Mashinter appeared in his first NHL game since Apr. 6, 2011 while with San Jose. He was recalled from AHL Connecticut on Monday after the club placed forward Darroll Powe (concussion) on injured reserve ... Montreal has allowed just two goals over its last four wins.
02/20 01:21:02 ET