Canadiens storm back vs. Rangers for biggest comeback in team history
MONTREAL (AP)—The Montreal Canadiens’ fans were rewarded for their faithful support with the biggest comeback win in the storied team’s history.
Saku Koivu beat Henrik Lundqvist with a forehand deke on the Canadiens’ second shootout attempt and Cristobal Huet stopped Brendan Shanahan, Chris Drury and Jaromir Jagr to the delight of the sold-out Bell Centre crowd of 21,273.
The Canadiens, who celebrate their centennial in 2009, stormed back from a 5-0 deficit early in the second with five unanswered goals.
“I don’t think a lot of people expected it,” said Ryder, who scored the first two of four straight even-strength goals by Montreal as the Canadiens pulled within one.
Kovalev, who scored Montreal’s third goal 9 seconds before Mark Streit scored, rolled onto his back amid a wild ovation after he tied it with his team-leading 29th goal at 15:38.
“When I was laying down, I could see that there was nobody sitting,” Kovalev said. “It’s unbelievable. The fans have always been great to me. It definitely makes you give more back and I’m trying to play as hard as I can for them. A game like this, we just had to keep playing and you never know what will happen.”
Shanahan scored twice to reach 20 goals for the 19th straight season and Jagr became the 10th leading scorer in NHL history with four assists to help stake the Rangers to their big lead.
Brandon Dubinsky and Sean Avery scored goals 14 seconds apart in the first, and Drury scored his 20th goal 28 seconds after Shanahan’s second goal of the game to give New York a five-goal lead 5:03 into the second.
“We got caught on our heels and allowed them back into the hockey game,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “I give the Montreal fans a ton of credit. That’s what you’re supposed to do, you’re behind your team and they did a great job of that and this hockey team, which is very dangerous, certainly fed off of that and took what we gave them.”
Shanahan scored New York’s third goal of the first period and the first of two power-play goals 28 seconds apart by the Rangers early in the second to extend the streak that he began in 1988-89 with 22 goals in his second season with New Jersey.
Ryder drew Montreal within 5-1 with his 10th goal at 8:28 before cutting the lead to three with his second in a row at 12:52.
The Canadiens struck for two goals 9 seconds apart to cut the lead to 5-4 just 6:52 into the third.
Dubinsky opened the scoring with his 11th goal 8:50 into the first period on a rink-length give-and-go play with Jagr off a turnover by Montreal in the Rangers’ zone.
Jagr also had a hand on the Rangers’ next goal as Avery put away a rebound of Carey Price’s pad stop on Jagr shortly after the faceoff that followed Dubinsky’s goal.
Shanahan chased Price, who allowed three goals on 11 shots, with his 19th goal at 13:56. He got his second of the game against Cristobal Huet 4:35 into the second with Chris Higgins serving a double minor for high-sticking.
Shanahan, who also played for St. Louis, Hartford and Detroit over the course of the streak, surpassed Marcel Dionne last season for sole possession of the second-longest streak in NHL history.
He trails only Gordie Howe, who scored at least 20 goals for 22 straight seasons with Detroit from 1949-50 to 1970-71.
“It shows a kind of consistency over a long period of time and a certain degree of luck in terms of health,” Shanahan said. “It’s company I’m certainly proud to be in.”
Jagr moved ahead of Ray Bourque on the career points list with an assist on Shanahan’s first goal before adding another on Shanahan’s second of the game to finish the game with 1,581 points—nine behind Phil Esposito, who is ninth overall with 1,590.
The game was delayed for a few minutes with 2:36 remaining in the third when a few hundred “Go Habs Go” signs given away to the sold-out crowd of 21,273 by a hardware retailer rained down onto the ice after Canadiens defenseman Mike Komisarek was called for his second minor penalty in a row.
Dubinsky fought with Komisarek late in the first period. … Price had won three straight starts, including back-to-back wins over Philadelphia on the weekend.