NHL Game Summary - Montreal at NY Rangers
(Monday, February 23rd)
Final Score: Montreal 4, NY Rangers 1
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Saku Koivu had a goal and two assists to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Jose Theodore made 31 saves for the Canadiens, who moved to 2-1 in their last three tilts.
Mike Ribeiro, Patrice Brisebois and Jason Ward also scored for Montreal, which also won for only the second time in its last seven games.
"This was big for us," Koivu said of the Canadiens' playoff picture. "Hopefully they (the Rangers) are done now and we have some room to breath."
Jaromir Jagr scored the lone goal for the Rangers, as the club dropped its second straight and sixth in eight games.
Mike Dunham finished with 17 saves for New York, which ended a four-game homestand 1-3.
"Maybe we just don't have what it takes to win the last two games," said New York's Bobby Holik, who had an assist. "Let's not kid ourselves here. When you lose 7-3 and 4-1, two important games of the season, maybe the team doesn't have what we needed to have to win, to be successful, to grab a point or anything. It's coming down to it, let's face the truth."
The Rangers begin a three-game road swing on Thursday at Nassau Coliseum against the New York Islanders.
The Canadiens ended a four-game road losing streak overall and improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight against the Rangers.
Montreal took a 2-0 lead after one period, thanks to goals from Koivu and Ribeiro.
Koivu scored on a wrister just 1:31 into the game, while Ribeiro extended the lead with just six seconds left until intermission.
Ribeiro scored when he took a Pierre Dagenais pass from behind the net and beat Dunham. Dagenais' pass actually went right between two Ranger defenders before finding the stick of Ribeiro.
In the second, the Rangers drew within 2-1 when Jagr scored on the power play 11:28 into the period. On a 5-on-3, Holik slid a puck across the crease to Jagr, who pounded the puck home.
Jagr now has a seven-game point-scoring streak, recording six goals and six assists over that span.
Montreal, however, began to pull away later in the period when Brisebois tallied a power-play goal, slapping home a shot from the left circle with 3:58 remaining.
Koivu assisted on the play and then recorded his second assist in the game in the third on Ward's goal that made it 4-1, 3:01 into the stanza.
The goal for Ward was his first since October 16, 2003 versus Pittsburgh.
The Rangers have now allowed a power-play goal in 10 of their last 11 games. Opponents have recorded a total of 13 power-play goals over that span.
"It was a big loss for us tonight," said New York head coach Glen Sather. "It was a four-point game for them and just like the game versus the Islanders will be. Right off the first couple of shifts, we kept running around in our end without point coverage and loss the guy on the way back. That was it. They got ahead of us."
New York is now 13 points behind Montreal for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Each team finished 1-for-5 with the man advantage.
Jan Bulis and Stephane Quintal has assists on Koivu's goal...Quintal's assist was his first point since Dec. 13 when he scored in a 5-2 win against Tampa Bay...Ribeiro has a goal and three assists in his last three games...Brian Leetch also had an assist on Jagr's goal. He now has a point in six of last seven games...New York outshot Montreal 17-5 in the second period...Richard Zednik assisted on Brisebois goal...Montreal has won four straight at MSG...Michael Ryder, who assisted on Ribeiro's goal, leads all NHL rookies with 44 points.
02/23 22:50:43 ET