• Rangers blank Habs in lopsided win

    NEW YORK

    The Canadiens returned to Madison Square Garden for the first time since they were eliminated by the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference final, and the result was the same as they absorbed a 5-0 loss Sunday night.

    , who established his credentials as an NHL goaltender in the playoffs, made a number of big saves, but the defence gave the Rangers too many good looks while the Canadiens weren’t able to generate any offence.

    What it means: The Canadiens, who were coming off a 2-0 win over the Bruins on Saturday night in Boston, fell to 16-6-1, but continue to lead the NHL with 33 points.

    S-O-S (same old start): The Canadiens had an excuse for a sluggish start because they were playing their eighth game in 13 nights, while the Rangers were well-rested after being spared a trip to snow-covered Buffalo. But Montreal was outshot 12-11 in the first period and fell behind when Dominic Moore scored his first goal of the season at 9:44. It was the 15th time in 23 games the Canadiens have surrendered the game’s first goal.

    Dale Weise #22 of the Montreal Canadiens fights for the puck with Mats Zuccarello #36 of the New York Rangers in the first period at Madison Square Garden on November 23, 2014 in New York City.  

    Marc Staal #18 and Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers fight for the puck with David Desharnais #51 of the Montreal Canadiens in the first period at Madison Square Garden on November 23, 2014 in New York City.  

    Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers fights for the puck with David Desharnais #51 of the Montreal Canadiens in the first period at Madison Square Garden on November 23, 2014 in New York City.  

    Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers dumps the puck past Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens in the first period at Madison Square Garden on November 23, 2014 in New York City.  

    Manny Malhotra #20 of the Montreal Canadiens hits Anthony Duclair #63 of the New York Rangers in the second period at Madison Square Garden on November 23, 2014 in New York City.  

    Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban, right, and New York Rangers' Dan Boyle chase the puck during the second period of the NHL hockey game, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in New York.  

    Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski , right, makes a save during the second period of the NHL hockey game against the New York Rangers, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in New York. Forbes has come out with its annual rankings of the value of each NHL team, and for the first time the Canadiens are a $1-billion franchise.  

    New York Rangers' Martin St. Louis reacts after scoring during the second period of the NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in New York.  

    Martin St. Louis #26 of the New York Rangers steals the puck from Alexei Emelin #74 of the Montreal Canadiens before scoring a goal in the second period at Madison Square Garden on November 23, 2014 in New York City.  

    New York Rangers' Martin St. Louis, left, steals the puck from Montreal Canadiens' Alexei Emelin just before scoring during the second period of the NHL hockey game, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in New York.  

     

    Stepan has a leg to skate on: Derek Stepan missed the first 12 games of the regular season as he recovered from a broken left leg, but he has been making up for lost time. Stepan took advantage of a cross-ice pass to beat Tokarski with a quick shot from the slot to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead at the 35-second mark of the second period. Stepan has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the eight games since he returned to the lineup.

    St. Louis back on track: Laval native Martin St. Louis was a bit of a disappointment in the regular season after he was traded from Tampa Bay to the Rangers. St. Louis had only one goal and seven assists in 19 games. The 39-year-old redeemed himself a bit in the playoffs and he’s continued his strong play into the new season. He made it 3-0 when he scored his eighth goal of the season at 15:33 of the second period and his two-point night gave him 17 points in 20 games. Alexei Emelin went back to play a clearing attempt by Chris Kreider, but he fanned on the puck and that gave St. Louis a clear path to the goal.

    Insurance policies: Carl Hagelin and Rick Nash completed the scoring in the third period. Hagelin tapped in a pass from Anthony Duclair, the 19-year-old rookie from the West Island, while Nash got behind Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban to score his 14th goal of the season.

    What’s next: The Canadiens are off until Friday when they travel to Buffalo to play the Sabres in the front end of a back-to-back series that concludes Saturday when the Sabres visit the Bell Centre.

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