Habs enjoying rarified air of first place
The Canadiens came back to beat the New York Rangers 3-1 at MSG for their fifth straight win. The victory moved the Habs into first place in the east, one point up on the Pittsburgh Penguins, with a record of 11-4-1.
With Tomas Plekanec in the penalty box with three minutes to play, Carey Price and company weathered the storm to pick up the victory. The Rangers pulled Henrik Lundqvist with about two minutes to go. However, the Habs capitalized on the opportunity as Rafael Diaz connected with the empty-netter with a shot from deep inside Montreal territory to put this one away.
After a listless opening period which featured a combined eight shots, the Rangers opened the scoring at 12:29 of the second period on a goal by Anton Stralman. Max Pacioretty tied the score with 75 seconds remaining in the middle frame: beating Lundqvist with a shot from outside the faceoff circle.
Alex Galchenyuk scored what proved to be the winning goal 1:48 into the third period, close in on Lundqvist, thanks to some nifty work by his linemates Lars Eller and former Ranger Brandon Prust: Montreal most effective trio up front.
The Canadiens will try to make it six in a row when they play host to the New York Islanders Thursday night.