National Hockey League
- Madison Square Garden PUCK DROP -
Montreal Canadiens
ML: MON +125
NY Rangers Rangers
ML: NYR -138
Goalie Performance
Carey Price
#31 G Carey Price
Henrik Lundqvist
#30 G Henrik Lundqvist
0.957 SV% 22 SV
0.792 SV% 19 SV
Scoring Leaders
Tomas Plekanec
#14 C Tomas Plekanec Goals Assists 0 3
Devante Smith-Pelly
#21 RW Devante Smith-Pelly Goals Assists 2 0
Alex Galchenyuk
#27 C Alex Galchenyuk Goals Assists 1 1
Rick Nash
#61 LW Rick Nash Goals Assists 1 0
Derick Brassard
#16 C Derick Brassard Goals Assists 0 1
Ryan McDonagh
#27 D Ryan McDonagh Goals Assists 0 1

NEW YORK -- It was good news, bad news for the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

Right winger Devante Smith-Pelly scored two goals as the Canadiens manhandled the New York Rangers 5-1 in a battle of the Eastern Conference's top two clubs.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, however, left the game after two periods with a lower-body injury that coach Michel Therrien said was a reoccurrence of a malady that cost the reigning Hart and Vezina Trophy winner eight games earlier this season.

Price stopped 22 of 23 shots to earn the victory while backup Mike Condon turned aside all 11 shots he faced in the final period.

Not only did Condon rise to the occasion, Smith-Pelly had the first two-goal game of his career in the absence of top-six right winger Brendan Gallagher, who is out at least six weeks after surgery on two fractured fingers.

"Injuries are going to happen," Smith-Pelly said. "A lot of guys have been playing with a lot of (different) guys. I think everyone's pretty comfortable. The first line is really the only that's stuck; everyone's used to moving around playing with everyone."

Smith-Pelly played on the top line in Gallagher's absence and, along with left winger Max Pacioretty and center Tomas Plekanec, combined for three goals and four assists against a Rangers team that entered with a nine-game home winning streak.

Smith-Pelly scored his second goal 17 seconds into third period and center Alex Galchenyuk followed 1:12 later to extend the lead to 4-1 with Price in the locker room with an injury, salting away a game that had been tight until that point.

"It was big because we ended up losing momentum the last 10 minutes of the second period," Therrien said, referring to a goal by Rangers left winger Rick Nash that cut the lead to 2-1. "They really pushed the pace, we took some penalties. It was important to get a really good start and try to get the tempo back."

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist also failed to finish the game, as he was yanked after Pacioretty made it 5-1 with a power-play goal at 9:06 of the third period. Lundqvist allowed five goals on 24 shots on a night when his defense allowed an abundance of point-blank chances.

"Their defense moves the puck so well," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "When you make the type of mistakes we made tonight, they are going to make you pay for it and that's what happened."

"I could feel I lost my focus a bit when they managed to score the third goal and then I gave up a really bad one on the fourth one," Lundqvist said. "They are good at finding that room in front of the net. If you look at the goals, that's where they score their goals. It's no secret."

The Canadiens (17-4-2) won three straight and lead the league with 36 points. They beat the Rangers (16-4-2) twice this season by a combined 8-1, although Therrien didn't apply any meaning to the dominance.

Right winger Sven Andrighetto, who could also see increased responsibility with Gallagher out, scored his first goal of the season at 4:45 of the first period to make it 1-0. Smith-Pelly's first goal, just like the one scored by Andrighetto, was scored from the front of the net with little resistance to make it 2-0 early in the second period.

Of the Canadiens' five goals, only Galchenyuk's bad-angle goal in the third period could not be pinned on poor defensive coverage by the Rangers.

"They are a skilled offensive team and you make one bad play, it gets picked off, and they are coming back, make a couple quick passes and it seems to be in the back of your net," Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. "We made a bunch of mistakes that ended up in the back our net."

However, life without Price could begin again for the Canadiens. Condon has been solid all season, as the rookie is 7-2-2 with a respectable .916 save percentage, and he may need to be that way again if Price is out long-term.

"We have confidence in him," Therrien said. "He's a rookie goalie but he's making some key saves."

NOTES: Canadiens RW Alexander Semin left the game after one shift in the third period with a lower-body injury. ... Canadiens D Alexei Emelin returned to the lineup after missing five games with a lower-body injury. He took the place of D Greg Pateryn. ... This was the Canadiens' first game since RW Brendan Gallagher had surgery to repair two fractured fingers. He will miss at least six weeks after playing in 166 consecutive games. ... C Bud Holloway and D Jarred Tinordi were scratches. ... The Rangers scratched RW Emerson Etem and D Dylan McIlrath. ... Eight of the previous nine meetings between these teams featured one team shutting out the other.
Top Game Performances
Montreal   NY Rangers
Tomas Plekanec 3 Points Rick Nash 1
Devante Smith-Pelly 2 Goals Rick Nash 1
Tomas Plekanec 3 Assists Derick Brassard 1
Max Pacioretty 1 Power Play Goals Rick Nash 1
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Michael Condon 1.000 Save Percentage Antti Raanta 1.000
Carey Price 22 Saves Henrik Lundqvist 19
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Montreal 25 5 1-4 4-5 10 22
NY Rangers 34 1 1-5 3-4 8 37
Upcoming Games
  • NY Rangers will play their next game on the road against Boston. The Rangers have a W/L % of .765 after a win and .600 after a loss.
  • Montreal will play their next game on the road against New Jersey. The Canadiens have a W/L % of .750 after a win and .714 after a loss.