Captain Weber Scores Two as Canadiens Top Rangers

MONTREAL — Shea Weber and Artturi Lehkonen each scored twice as the Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers 5-2 to snap a five-game losing skid on Saturday night.

Tomas Tatar also scored for the Canadiens (12-9-5) in their first home win since Nov. 10. Carey Price stopped 20 shots.

Carey Price, Mika Zibanejad,
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price stops a shot by New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

Jimmy Vesey and Ryan Strome scored for the Rangers (13-12-2), who have dropped four of their past five games. Backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev made 37 saves on 42 shots while Mika Zibanejad had two assists.

Both teams were playing the first game of a back-to-back weekend. Montreal hosts the San Jose Sharks on Sunday while the Rangers take on the Winnipeg Jets in New York.

The Canadiens, who outshot New York 42-22, have won four straight games against the Rangers at the Bell Centre.

Montreal went up 2-0 in the first period thanks to Weber’s first two goals of the season in just his second game back from injury.

The new Canadiens captain scored 3:53 into the contest with a one-timer from the blue line that Georgiev never even saw — Weber’s first goal since Dec. 5, 2017 after missing 73 games due to injury.

The six-foot-four defenceman netted his second of the game on a great play by Tatar. Lying on the ice with his back to the play after being tripped at the blue line, Tatar spotted a streaking Weber and fed him with a backhand pass for the partial break. Weber went glove side, top shelf, with eight seconds remaining in the first period.

Lehkonen doubled Montreal’s lead — and his goal tally for the season — with two quick ones early in the second.

The Canadiens went up 3-0 when Lehkonen beat Georgiev with a wrist shot on a 2-on-1 at 2:04. The Rangers goalie smashed his stick against the post in anger after the goal.

Lehkonen made it 4-0 at 5:29, a quick release on Georgiev’s blocker side after an awful giveaway by Neal Pionk behind his own net.

With the teams playing 4-on-4, the Rangers got one back through Vesey’s wrist shot at 8:10 of the second.

Strome, on the power play, made it 4-2 with 5:49 remaining in the middle frame.

Tatar, with his 11th of the season, restored Montreal’s three-goal lead with a power-play marker at 10:28 of the third.

Speedy forward Paul Byron was back in the lineup for Montreal after missing 14 games with a lower-body injury.

NOTES: The Canadiens placed former first-round draft pick Nikita Scherbak on waivers earlier on Saturday.

Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press