New York, NY (Sports Network) – Artem Anisimov totaled a goal and an assist in the first period as the New York Rangers used a five-goal opening frame to take a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden.
Dan Girardi, Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle and Ryan Callahan all scored in the first period to help the Rangers win a third straight game and for the fifth time in the past six.
“We wanted to start off good at home,” said Girardi. “The fans really got us going, they were nice and loud and we got off to a great first period.”
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 22 shots for New York, which has 80 points and sits in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, five points back of Montreal.
Lundqvist became the first goaltender in NHL history to record at least 30 wins in each of his first six seasons.
James Wisniewski and Brian Gionta each had a goal and an assist while P.K. Subban also scored for the Canadiens, who came into the contest having won seven of their last nine.
“I think you can count the first period as us coming off the plane and not being ready to play,” said Wisniewski. “But you can’t use that as an excuse cause we’re professionals. They’re fighting for a playoff spot same as we are.”
Carey Price was shelled for five goals on 12 shots before being pulled late in the first. Alex Auld stopped 18-of-19 shots the rest of way.
Anisimov got the scoring started 5:28 into the game when he skated in on a breakaway and snuck a backhander past Price, but Montreal countered on Subban’s blast from the high slot less than two minutes later.
The rest of the period, though, belonged to the Blueshirts as they scored four in a row to take control for good.
The first came at the 10:25 mark when Erik Christensen blasted a shot on net from the left circle that Price made a kick save on, but the rebound came out to the right and Girardi buried it for his fourth of the season.
New York then scored three times in a span of 1:07 over the final three minutes.
It was 3-1 at 17:09 when Callahan’s shot from down low popped over Price and just crossed the line before going under the fallen and beleaguered Habs goaltender. The goal was initially waived off, but a replay review reversed the call.
Just 32 seconds later, Gaborik buried a wrister in front and Boyle put on the red light 35 seconds after that when he finished a 3-on-1 rush with his wrist shot from the right circle.
Montreal got one back in the second period on Wisniewski’s slap shot from the right point that beat Lundqvist cleanly at the 4:13 mark.
It was a 5-3 game 54 seconds into the third period when Gionta redirected a Wisniewski shot home for a power-play goal.
However, Prospal’s power-play marker with 2:45 to play killed any hope of a Montreal comeback.
The Rangers improved to 25-0-0 when leading after two periods. They are the only team in the NHL this season to have not lost a game when leading after two…The last time the Rangers scored at least five goals in a period was on March 17, 2007 against Boston (six goals in the second of a 7-0 victory), and the last time the Rangers tallied at least five goals in the opening frame was on December 15, 1999 against Los Angeles (six goals in an 8-3 win)…New York hadn’t scored five goals in a period against Montreal since January 10, 1986 when it totaled five goals in the second period of a 6-4 decision…Montreal had won the previous three games this season over New York and five straight.