Recap: Habs Beat Rangers 5-4 in Seesaw Battle

Something had to give, with the Montreal Canadiens 9-0-2 on Saturday nights and the visiting New York Rangers a perfect 7-0 in the back halves of back-to-back games. Coming off a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, the Rangers could not rebound with the Habs dealing them their first loss, 5-4, under those same circumstances.

Montreal outpaced New York in the frantic affair, which saw the Habs’ Michel Therrien coach his 800th game, two players return from injury, one ejection and what seemed like zero saves made between Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price.

First Period

New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta
New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta – (Photo credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Right off the bat, the two teams were off to the races. Habs forward Philip Danault got one past Rangers goalie Antti Raanta, who started in place of Lundqvist. Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault challenged the call, with Andrew Shaw ultimately being judged as having interfered with the New York netminder on the play.

Shaw, who had missed the previous 14 games with concussion symptoms, was not done negatively impacting his team, though. He got called for interference just past the halfway mark of the period, with Brandon Pirri officially opening up the scoring on the ensuing Rangers power play.

Shaw also victimized Rangers forward Jesper Fast with a late hit with just over three minutes to go in the frame. That led to his ejection and a five-minute Rangers power play that, fortunately for the Habs, the Rangers did not score on.

Second Period

Montreal got actual positive contributions from their other returnee to action, Alex Galchenyuk. The Habs forward redirected a Mark Barberio shot from the point early in the second, beating Lundqvist who relieved Raanta, who had left due to a lower-body injury.

The Rangers retook the lead when Kevin Hayes attempted the famous Peter Forsberg deke on Price. It worked, in the sense that Price got caught going the wrong way. It didn’t in the sense that was arguably only because Hayes’ skate got caught in Price’s pads, which dragged him out of position. Rick Nash cleaned up the garbage in front of the net, and, despite Michel Therrien challenging the goal due to goaltender interference, it stood up.

Brian Flynn tied the game up at two a minute and a half later. However, J.T. Miller put the Rangers up again, scoring shorthanded off a feed from Hayes, with defenseman Nick Holden off for slashing.

Third Period

The difference in this game came in the form of a one-minute stretch halfway through the final period, during which the Habs scored three times. First, Alexei Emelin beat Lundqvist with a wrist shot off a face-off. Then Max Pacioretty scored five-hole on a breakaway. Finally, Paul Byron notched the eventual game-winning goal on a broken play that ended with the puck going in off Rangers blueliner Adam Clendening.

The Rangers got one of those back with five minutes to go when Derek Stepan tipped in a shot from the point. They had a golden opportunity to tie the game soon thereafter when the team’s leading goal-scorer, Michael Grabner, got in alone on Price, but the Habs netminder flashed his glove to stand tall for what seemed like the first time all game… for both goalies.

Scoring Summary


NYR – Brandon Pirri (7) assisted by Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan


MTL – Alex Galchenyuk (10) assisted by Mark Barberio and Max Pacioretty

NYR – Rick Nash (14) assisted by Kevin Hayes and Pavel Buchnevich

MTL – Brian Flynn (6) assisted by Philip Danault and Jeff Petry

NYR – J.T. Miller (14) assisted by Kevin Hayes


MTL – Alexei Emelin (2) assisted by Paul Byron and Philip Danault

MTL – Max Pacioretty (20) assisted by Zach Redmond

MTL – Paul Byron (13) assisted by Philip Danault and Alexei Emelin

NYR – Derek Stepan (10) assisted by Mats Zuccarello and Nick Holden

THW Three Stars

First: Philip Danault (3 assists)

Second: Kevin Hayes (2 assists)

Third: Max Pacioretty (1 goal, 1 assist)


Montreal Canadiens at Detroit Red Wings

Joe Louis Arena – 3:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 16

Broadcast channels – FS-D, SNE, RDS

2016-17 Season Series:

November 12: Canadiens 5 – Red Wings 0

November 26: Canadiens 2 – Red Wings 1 (OT)


New York Rangers vs. Dallas Stars

Madison Square Garden – 7:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 17

Broadcast channels – SN, SN1, TVAS, MSG, FS-SW+

2016-17 Season Series: First Matchup of the Season