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Canadiens continue domination vs. Rangers with 3-0 shutout

The SportsXchange

MONTREAL - Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens completely have the New York Rangers' number at the Bell Centre.

And it's a big, fat zero.

Price made 34 saves for his third shutout, Michael Ryder and Tomas Plekanec scored first-period goals, and Montreal beat New York 3-0 on Saturday night.

The Canadiens have won eight in a row at home against the Rangers.

Montreal improved to 10-0-1 in its last 11 games against New York at the Bell Centre, including the Rangers' 4-3 shootout win on March 17, 2009. New York has not won in regulation in Montreal since Feb. 3, 2008.

Price has recorded four straight shutouts against the Rangers at home, including a 3-0 win on Feb. 23.

"I don't know why but we just played well against them tonight," said Price, whose shutout streak against the Rangers at the Bell Centre reached 252 minutes, 45 seconds. "I feel like we've been playing pretty consistently and I think that's the key to our success against that team."

The Montreal goalie posted his 19th career shutout three nights after he was pulled after the second period in Boston.

P.K. Subban had three assists for Montreal, including on Brendan Gallagher's power-play goal midway through the second.

"To be honest with you I thought it was a pretty routine game for him," Subban said. "The thing about Pricey is he just makes the saves look easy -- but a lot of those saves weren't easy -- but nobody's surprised in this dressing room. I mean, that's Pricey. He's one of the best goaltenders in the league so to me it's just another game for him."

Montreal came back from a 4-2 deficit Wednesday night for a 6-5 shootout victory as backup Petr Budaj stopped all six Bruins shooters in the tie-breaker for his fifth win in seven games.

"That was a tough game but really that happens in hockey," Price said. "The move was justified and it worked out for us so I don't really need to go back on that game too much."

The Canadiens extended their Northeast Division lead with 49 points, three ahead of Boston, which lost to Philadelphia.

Martin Biron stopped 23 shots for New York, which lost 3-0 in Ottawa on Thursday night. The Rangers, whose goal-less drought reached 127 minutes, 47 seconds, have three wins in their last 10 games (3-6-1).

All of the New York players were still on hand at their stalls when the dressing room was opened to reporters after the game.

"Well, I think it's part of the process that you just don't hang around when you're winning," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "I think some guys have been in there and have been basically the voice of the team where everybody needs to be in there. This is part of learning. This is how you get better as a team, is handling those type of situations, too, answering the questions, and we've just got to stay together as a team.

"So, no one's happy about it. Everybody's frustrated but when they wake up tomorrow they've got to realize that they're still in the thick of things, and things change pretty quickly if we could just get some sort of success as we keep on going."

Ryder took advantage of a fortunate bounce while both teams were changing lines to open the scoring 47 seconds in. The Canadiens' left wing dumped the puck into the left corner and recovered it in front when it bounced off the end boards and the side of the net before slipping a shot past Biron for his 13th goal.

Plekanec made it 2-0 with his 13th goal on a 2-on-1 at 18:11. The Czech center drove the right side with Subban to his left and elected to shoot from the top of the right faceoff circle, where he drove a slap shot past Biron into the top left corner.

Rangers right wing Rick Nash was given a minor for goaltender interference after he slammed into Price midway through the second.

Gallagher made it a three-goal lead at 11:02 when he scored his 11th during the ensuing power play.

NOTES: Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello made his season debut after signing as a free agent on Thursday. Zuccarello had 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points in 44 games this season in Russia with KHL Magnitogorsk Metallurg. The 25-year-old Norwegian had eight goals and 18 assists for 26 points in 52 games with the Rangers over parts of the last two seasons. ... Canadiens left wing Brandon Prust returned after missing eight games because of a left shoulder injury. Prust left the Rangers in the off-season to sign a free agent contract with Montreal, a four-year, $10-million deal. The Canadiens' team leader in penalty minutes with 81 entering Saturday night's game, Prust had four goals and five assists for nine points in 25 games prior to his injury. ... Montreal defenseman Nathan Beaulieu made his NHL debut and was paired with veteran Francis Bouillon. Beaulieu was the Canadiens' first-round pick, 17th overall, in the 2011 draft. He had six goals and 19 assists for 25 points in 62 games with AHL Hamilton when he was recalled by Montreal on Friday.
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