Price gets shutout as Canadiens top Rangers 3-0
MONTREAL (AP) Max Pacioretty stole the spotlight before the game. Carey Price got most of the accolades after the game. They combined to help the Montreal Canadiens to a franchise record.
Pacioretty, carrying a torch aloft as he took the ice before the game, was introduced as the 29th captain in Canadiens' history.
Price made 25 saves to lead Montreal to a 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday night. The win was the Canadiens' fifth straight to start the season, a franchise record.
''It (the record) is rewarding, but I'm more happy about the way the team's playing,'' Pacioretty said after his first home game since being named captain. ''It's so fun to roll four lines and see everyone going.
''There are no egos on this team right now.''
Tomas Fleischmann, Dale Weise and Tomas Plekanec, with an empty-net effort, scored for the Canadiens (5-0-0), who handed the Rangers (3-2-0) a second straight defeat.
Despite powerhouse Canadiens teams that won a record 24 Stanley Cups, the previous club record for wins to start a season was four, last accomplished in 1977-78.
To set the record, Price displayed the form that won him the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP and the Vezina as top goaltender last season.
New York's Henrik Lundqvist, who is also considered among the best goalies in the world, may have been even better in a losing cause, stopping 29 of 31 shots.
''Hank was awesome tonight,'' Price said of Lundqvist. ''That was a spectacle. An absolute clinic. I really enjoyed watching it. He made a dozen really spectacular saves.''
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault agreed.
''We got schooled tonight,'' he said. ''Our only moment came on a 5-on-3. They outplayed us in every aspect of the game. If it wasn't for our goalie, it would have been much worse.''
Price has been all-but unbeatable at home against the Rangers, posting a 9-1-1 record in their last 11 visits, allowing only nine goals.
There was playoff-like speed and intensity in the meeting of last season's two top regular season clubs.
''It was a high-level match, like a game in April,'' Montreal coach Michel Therrien said.
Montreal outshot the Rangers 32-25.
The Canadiens scored the first goal for the fifth time in as many games 8:46 into the second period. David Desharnais kept a puck in at the blue line and then saw his shot go off Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Fleischmann batted the bouncing puck past Lundqvist on the short side.
The end of the third period saw the goalies at their finest. Montreal killed a two-man New York Advantage when Price made a brilliant stop short side on Derek Stepan and thwarted Rick Nash on a short-range blast.
At the other end, Lundqvist snared a bullet from Alex Galchenyuk. The Swede then kept the Rangers in the game in the third by stopping Brian Flynn on a breakaway and robbing a wide-open Desharnais from close range.
He was finally beaten again at 17:55 when Weise picked out an opening with a shot from the right circle. Plekanec then put his fourth of the season into an open net.
''Once again the Rangers played very well,'' Price said. ''That's an excellent hockey club over there.
''We have a lot of respect for that team and their abilities. They probably feel the same about us. In the future, I'm sure there'll be a lot more great hockey games between our teams.''