NEW YORK -- John Tortorella's eyesore was Michel Therrien's work of art.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Rookie Alex Galchenyuk's tiebreaking goal early in the third period powered the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.
"It's huge. Not just for myself but for the team. It was a tough game for three periods, and I get a goal. It's huge," Galchenyuk said. "It happened quick. I just tried to put a puck in the net and it was a good play by Prustie (Brandon Prust)."
Rafael Diaz and Max Pacioretty also scored for Montreal, which improved to 11-4-1 this season. Goaltender Carey Price made 24 saves.
"We knew that we had to have a good effort, a good defensive effort to have a tight game," said Therrien. "The more the game was tight, I liked our chances to win this hockey game."
The Rangers fell to 8-6-1. Anton Stralman scored New York's lone goal. Henrik Lundqvist made 17 saves.
"I thought it was probably one of the worst hockey games I've ever been involved in. Both teams. But they were better than we were," Tortorella said. "It was two bad teams playing and we were worse than they were.
"Pretty much sums it up, huh?"
Tied 1-1 in the third, Galchenyuk pool-cued a cross-ice feed from linemate Prust under Lundqvist for the game-winning goal. Galchenyuk's goal came 3:03 after Pacioretty tied the game at 1-1. Pacioretty ripped a slapshot that a screened Lundqvist didn't see.
The Rangers were displeased that the goal counted as one linesman called for an icing but the other linesman waved off the ruling. Mark Wheler and Jean Morin were the linesmen last night.
"He just said 'no icing,'" Del Zotto said. "I told him one of us heard it. Three of us heard he said no icing."
Stralman's second goal of the season, 12:29 into the second period, began the scoring. The New York defenseman whacked a rebound over Price's pads into the net.
As one would expect in a match involving two defensive-oriented teams, New York and Montreal clogged the middle of the ice. Most of the 101 attempted shots came from the perimeter and were harmless.
"They're good in the neutral zone," New York captain Ryan Callahan said. "They clog it up pretty well. Throughout the game, we kept telling ourselves to be patient with it (and) get pucks deep. We tried to focus on not turning the puck over. The whole game it looked like we were always going to do that and be the better of the two teams. Unfortunately in the third, we turn one over, get a 3-on-1 against us and it ends up being the winner."
Diaz's empty-net goal with a minute remaining ended the scoring.
Lundqvist was momentarily injured in the second period when he was struck by a P.K. Subban slapshot. The goaltender flexed his arm for a few moments but did not leave the game.
"It hit me on the shoulder. It usually takes a couple minutes for it to go back to normal. It's fine," Lundqvist said. "It was a rocket."
NOTES: Brandon Prust made his Garden debut as a member of the Canadiens Tuesday. A Ranger for two-and-a-half years, Prust agreed to a four-year, $10 million contract with Montreal on the first day of free agency. "(I) made a lot of friends, love the city, great organization. It's kind of a kick start to my hockey career," Prust said. "(Montreal) made some good changes in the offseason (and) you like to think you're a piece of that puzzle; you brought some good things to that dressing room and out on the ice. That's what I try to do on the ice. It's been a whole bunch of the things that have come together to bring us success." ... Rick Nash missed the game due to an undisclosed injury. "No," Tortorella said before the game when asked for an update on the left wing's condition. "He's a very good player (but it gives) other people (an) opportunity. So we go play." ... Brandon Mashinter made his Rangers debut last night. He was called up from AHL Connecticut Monday after left wing Darroll Powe was placed on the injured reserve with a concussion. "I have no idea," Tortorella said when asked what he expected to see from Mashinter. ... Montreal improved to 320-191-94-3 all time against New York. ... The Rangers will leave for Ottawa Wednesday afternoon. They will meet the Senators at Scotiabank Place Thursday night for the first time since last April's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series that New York won in seven games.