Cam Talbot and the Rangers did what we thought was impossible. New York, who has not won in Montreal in since Torts was less than 2 months on the job
the Tom Renney regime, skated into Montreal determined to come out with a win and show everyone their bounce back after a horrible start was for real. Talbot stopped 22 shots for his first career shutout, and the Rangers needed just one powerplay goal to disappoint the hometown fans. It was their first win in Montreal since 2009, and their first shutout of the Habs since 1967.
The Rangers did almost everything right this game. They stayed out of the box, they capitalized on their one big powerplay chance (the 5-on-3), they got stellar goaltending, they played great defense. Sure, they only put up one goal on 34 shots, but that’s more a reflection on Carey Price’s play than the Rangers. They dominated the puck possession game from start to finish, something we hadn’t seen all year.
On to the goal and the Fenwick chart:
Rangers 1, Canadiens 0
For all intents and purposes, this is a 5-on-3 goal since the Rangers scored as Raphael Diaz’s penalty expired, but he hadn’t gotten back to help on defense yet. Naturally, the Rangers had some good puck movement, and Derek Stepan was able to hit Brad Richards creeping in on the near side for a one-timer that beat Price as Ryan Callahan screened him in front. Tomas Plekanec, highlighted in the picture, makes the right play and covers the cross ice pass to Mats Zuccarello, but New York was still able to score.
Update: Forgot the goal went to Cally, who deflected the Richards shot.
As you can see from the chart, the Rangers just dominated the Habs from start to finish last night. The one point when the Canadiens had a Fenwick lead was in the first period, and it was a slim lead at that, caused by a Canadiens powerplay. After that, the Rangers just took over and never looked back. The game may have been close on the scoreboard, and the Habs may have had some good chances, but the Rangers dominated the game, and came out with a win.
This was a big win for the Rangers. Not only did they snap a big losing streak in Montreal, but they beat a team bound for the playoffs. The biggest knock on the Rangers win streak in November was that there weren’t any playoff teams beaten. Now, they’ve beaten Montreal, and they have another opportunity tonight against a Jonathan Quick-less Kings squad. These are the wins that build huge momentum and confidence.