Canadiens blanked by Rangers
Michael Ryder was stopped by Henrik Lundvist on a breakaway.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Marcel Hossa scored two more goals for the New York Rangers, who shook off trades and injuries to beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 Tuesday night.
Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves in his third shutout this season and fifth in two seasons. His best stop came in the first period when he turned aside Michael Ryder on a breakaway out of the penalty box.
Hossa found the net twice in the second period, giving the emerging left winger eight goals in 11 games. Playing on a line with captain Jaromir Jagr and Michael Nylander, in the absence of injured forwards Martin Straka and Brendan Shanahan, Hossa matched his career high of 10 goals set last season.
Jagr scored his second power-play goal in two games to give the Rangers a much-needed
win. New York began the night tied for 11th in the Eastern Conference, seven points and three places below the playoff cutoff.
Matt Cullen's empty-netter, with an assist from Hossa, sealed it with just under a minute left.
The Rangers moved within six points of the Canadiens, who entered Tuesday with a hold on seventh in the tight race for the playoffs. Montreal had won four of five.
Jarkko Immonen, recalled before the game to help offset the loss of Straka, helped set up Hossa's first goal. That sent the Rangers on the way to their fifth win in 10 games (5-3-2) despite a makeshift lineup following trades earlier Tuesday that removed defenseman Aaron Ward and Pascal Dupuis from the team.
It was a good bounce-back effort for New York, which gave up two short-handed goals in a 3-2 loss to Columbus on Saturday night after jumping out to a two-goal advantage.
The Rangers got in front of Montreal and 21-year-old goalie Jaroslav Halak and kept the Canadiens at bay.
Halak, filling in for injured regular Cristobal Huet, looked sharp in killing Ryder's tripping penalty but a tough bounce put Montreal in a hole as Ryder served a hooking infraction moments later.
Jagr swung around defenseman Francis Bouillon low in the right circle and slinged a shot that clipped the butt end of Halak's stick and bounced in for a 1-0 New York lead.
Hossa scored twice in a 6:12 span, giving him his second multi-goal game in the NHL. He took a pass from Immonen near the left post and beat Halak at 9:32 during a power play. He made it 3-0 after Jagr's behind-the-back pass hit the skate of Rangers defenseman Marek Malik. Hossa cut around defenseman Mathieu Dandenault and scored with 4:16 left in the period.
Fans chanted his name in the final minute, hoping for a hat-trick goal into the empty net.
Halak stopped 23 shots as he made his fifth start in six games since debuting in the NHL. He lost his second straight after three consecutive wins.
Notes: Straka sat out due to a shoulder injury sustained Saturday. ... Ward was dealt to Boston for D Paul Mara. Dupuis, who played six games with the Rangers, went to Atlanta with a third-round draft pick for forward prospect Alex Bourret. ... New York recalled forwards Immonen and Brad Isbister from AHL Hartford. ... Montreal hadn't lost on the road to the Rangers since March 11, 2002. ... Hossa scored two goals against Columbus on Jan. 16, 2006. ... Huet (hamstring) is out for the regular season.