NHL Game Summary - NY Rangers at Montreal
(Tuesday, February 19th)
Final Score: Montreal 6, NY Rangers 5 (SO)
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Saku Koivu's shootout goal completed the biggest comeback in Montreal's storied history, as the Canadiens used two goals apiece by Michael Ryder and Alex Kovalev and another from Mark Streit to erase a five-goal deficit and earn an amazing 6-5 victory over the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre.
Montreal was left for dead with a 5-0 deficit, but Ryder scored twice in the second period before two goals within a nine-second span in the third -- including Streit's goal that was originally credited to Ryder -- made it a one-goal game. Kovalev's power-play marker tied it up with 4:22 remaining in regulation and Koivu ended it in the shootout.
"It's quite exciting for us and for the fans," said Kovalev. "We showed a lot of character and surprised a lot of people."
Ryder, the subject of heavy trade rumors of late in Montreal, sparked the comeback for the Canadiens, who entered this game fresh off a convincing home- and-home sweep of Philadelphia over the weekend and won their fourth straight game. Goaltender Carey Price allowed three goals on 11 shots and was pulled in the first period. Cristobal Huet finished with 20 saves in relief.
Brendan Shanahan scored two power-play goals and Jaromir Jagr registered four assists for the Rangers, who blew the five-goal lead and in the process saw their two-game win streak halted. Brandon Dubinsky, Sean Avery and Chris Drury also scored for New York while Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 27 shots in the losing effort. The Rangers have earned at least a point in each of their last five games (3-0-2).
"We're a little embarrassed, and we're not happy," said a disappointed Shanahan. "We had a couple chances to make it 6-0, and that six-goal lead would have been the difference. but we got back on our heels. We quit playing the game (the way) we started. It's a loss, but we got a point."
After Kovalev's unassisted tally at the 6:43 mark of the third brought Montreal within 5-3, Streit was credited with his 10th goal only nine seconds later. Following the ensuing faceoff, Ryder crossed the blue line, stick- handled between a pair of defenders and fired a wrist shot from the slot that deflected off Streit on its way past Lundqvist with 13:08 remaining in regulation.
"We got two goals in the second and we kept the momentum going into the third," Ryder said. "The whole team showed character with the comeback."
Montreal then gained a power play at the 15-minute mark and cashed in to complete the amazing comeback. Andrei Kostitsyn passed into the left circle, where Kovalev's one-timer flew into the net as the home crowd erupted.
"I give the fans a ton of credit," said Rangers head coach Tom Renney. "That's what (a home crowd) is supposed to do - stay behind the team. (Montreal) is very dangerous. They feed off the fans and took what we gave them. We had to stay composed, but we weren't able to do that down the stretch."
Following a furious but scoreless overtime, the first three skaters in the shootout failed to score before Koivu's deke maneuver allowed the puck to slide past Lundqvist. When Huet denied Jagr, the Habs celebrated the win.
"It's not an easy game for us to lose - we're mad,"Renney added.
The Rangers opened the floodgates when they scored twice within a 14-second span in the first period.
First, at 8:50, Dubinsky's 11th goal made it 1-0. New York blueliner Michal Rozsival caused a turnover in the Rangers' defensive zone and the puck was corralled by Dubinsky, who quickly fed a pass to Jagr along the boards in the neutral zone before Jagr gave it back moments later. The give-and-go sent Dubinsky on a sprint toward the net, and he streaked through the slot and fired a wrister past Price.
After the ensuing faceoff, Jagr gained control and moved with the puck across the blue line toward the right circle. From along the near half-wall, Jagr fired a turnaround pass across the slot and the disc deflected off two players before Avery punched it home from beneath the left circle near the post.
At the 13:41 mark of the first, Kovalev was whistled for high-sticking and the visitors went to work with the extra skater. Only 15 seconds of power-play time were needed before Shanahan tallied. Jagr held control inside the right circle and sent a soft backhand pass into the slot for Shanahan, who blasted a one-timer into the back of the cage and the Blueshirts led by three with 6:04 remaining before the first intermission.
The second power-play goal of the game by Shanahan at 4:35 of the middle session increased New York's advantage to four goals. Chris Higgins was dealt a costly double minor for high-sticking and New York passed around the perimeter with the extra skater. Paul Mara released a wrist shot from the right point and Shanahan redirected it past Huet from in close for his 20th goal.
The Rangers remained on the power play because the tally occurred before the first two minutes expired, and Drury's successful wrist shot from inside the right circle lit the lamp 28 seconds later for a 5-0 margin.
In the middle stages of the period, Ryder scored twice to bring the Habs back to life. The first goal was set up by Streit, who from inside the left circle fed a pass across the slot for Ryder's wrist shot that flew past Lundqvist's shoulder at 8:28.
Less than five minutes later, Ryder's 11th goal made it 5-2.
"The turning point in the game was when Ryder scored two -- the game changed completely," said Kovalev.
Shanahan has now scored at least 20 goals in 19 straight seasons, which is good for second-best all-time. Only the legendary Gordie Howe, who recorded at least 20 goals for 22 straight seasons, has more...This marked the opener of a four-game homestand for the Canadiens...The Rangers fell to 11-11-8 on the road this season...New York captured the season series, 3-0-1...New York ended 3-for-6 on the power play and the Canadiens were 1-for-3 with the extra skater...Attendance was 21,273.
02/20 01:22:45 ET