The sold-out crowd observed a moment of silence before the game in honor of Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, who died earlier in the day in Atlanta. Moments earlier Geoffrion’s wife Marlene—the daughter of Canadiens great Howie Morenz — and the couple’s three children raised Geoffrion’s No. 5 jersey to the rafters alongside the No. 7 of her father.
“I had a tear in my eye,” Rivet said. “You really feel for the family. You could see the emotion in their faces and it really goes to show that it means a lot to play for this team. I don’t think people really realize that to put on the red, white and blue sweater and the great players that have played ahead of myself, it’s truly an honor to be playing for this team.”
Huet, who made 28 saves in Thursday’s 3-0 win in Boston, stopped 26 shots in his 13th straight start and earned his fifth shutout of the season. Huet had shutouts on consecutive days over Boston and Philadelphia on Feb. 5-6.
“It’s tough,” Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis said. “Montreal was emotionally involved in the game.”
New York was unable to score against Huet despite enjoying a 5-on-3 advantage for the first 1:41 of the third. The French-born goalie made a fine glove save off Petr Sykora among several big stops during that stretch.
“I think that was the key tonight, the 5-on-3, because we shut them down pretty good the rest of the game,” Huet said.
The Canadiens, who began the day one point behind Tampa Bay for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, won their second in a row and have claimed points in 11 of 12 games (8-1-3).
The Rangers, who lost 3-2 in a shootout Wednesday in Atlanta, have dropped four in a row following a season-high, seven-game winning streak.
“The last four games we’ve played, the other team has scored the first goal, so they can play smart and we have to be really patient,” Lundqvist said. “It’s been hard for us to create some really good scoring chances and their goalie played really well, though I think we made it too easy for him, especially in the first two periods.”
Huet extended his shutout streak to 131 minutes, 19 seconds just three days after Montreal’s acquisition of David Aebischer from Colorado in the trade that sent 2001-02 NHL MVP Jose Theodore to the Avalanche.
Geoffrion’s death came exactly 69 years after Morenz’s casket was viewed by thousands of fans as it laid in state at the Montreal Forum, three days after he died on March 8, 1937.
Marlene, married to Bernie for 54 years, flew from their home in Atlanta along with their daughter, Linda, as the pre-planned ceremony proceeded according to Geoffrion’s wishes.
With the lights dimmed and spotlights in the shape of No. 5 moving throughout the crowd, the first big cheer of the ceremony came when a clip was shown on the videoboard of Geoffrion at an Oct. 15 press conference explaining his reaction to learning that his number would be retired.
Actor Will Ferrell attended the game, drawing a big cheer when he was shown holding up a miniature No. 5 banner. … Lundqvist made 23 saves. … Geoffrion, who won six Stanley Cups with Montreal from 1950-64, came out of retirement with the Rangers in 1966 and played his final two seasons in New York. His No. 5 was painted on the ice behind both nets. … It was the 10th anniversary of the Canadiens’ last game at the Montreal Forum. On March 11, 1996, Montreal beat Dallas 4-1 before moving into its new home five days later with a 4-2 win over the Rangers. … Wearing No. 30, Aebischer backed up Huet. The No. 1 he wore with Colorado was retired by the Canadiens in honor of Jacques Plante.