Rangers-Canadiens Preview

The Associated Press

The New York Rangers supplied more than enough offense to bounce back from their first defeat of the new year.

They hope that sort of production continues at Montreal, where goals have been hard to come by for the Rangers in recent years.

Having been shut out in their last two road games against the Canadiens and mired in a five-game losing streak at the Bell Centre, the Rangers seek to end those droughts Sunday night in an Original Six matchup.

Coming off a 3-0 home loss to Ottawa on Thursday, New York (28-10-4) won by the same score Saturday at Toronto. The NHL's first team to reach 60 points, the Rangers have won 11 of 13 overall and three straight on the road, where they've been victorious in 10 of their last 12.

"We're going along on the road trying to get one thing done, and that's to win games," coach John Tortorella told the Rangers' official website.

However, that success might not continue if the Rangers' recent road history against the Canadiens (16-20-8) is any indication.

New York has been outscored 20-6 during a five-game skid at Montreal that dates to a 4-3 shootout victory March 17, 2009. Three of those five losses have been shutouts including the last two, most recently 4-0 on Nov. 19.

New York has not been shut out by the same opponent in three straight road games since the Maple Leafs did it four consecutive times in 1953.

The Rangers hope the sort of grind-it-out, aggressive style they displayed in Saturday's victory over the Leafs will be a springboard to end their Montreal drought.

"That's a big part of our game,'' Tortorella said. "That's the way we have to play. We've developed an identity as a team.''

Backup Martin Biron made 20 saves and Derek Stepan had a goal with an assist Saturday for the Rangers. Despite Biron's strong performance, Henrik Lundqvist is likely to be back in net Sunday.

Lundqvist, who had his seven-game winning streak snapped by the Senators on Thursday, has won his last two starts against the Canadiens - both at home. However, he's posted a 4.88 goals-against average during a personal three-game skid at Montreal.

Stepan had two assists during New York's 5-3 home win over Montreal on Nov. 5.

The Canadiens will try to avoid a fourth consecutive loss after falling 3-2 in a shootout to Ottawa on Saturday. Montreal has totaled three goals during its three-game skid, coming on the heels of a 10-goal outburst in consecutive wins over Winnipeg and Tampa Bay.

After being held to one goal in his previous 13 games, Max Pacioretty scored his 13th to force overtime Saturday. The fourth-year forward is one goal shy of matching his career high from last season.

One night after Montreal's Scott Gomez returned from a 21-game absence due to a groin injury, Rene Bourque could make his Canadiens debut after being acquired Thursday in a trade that sent Michael Cammalleri back to Calgary.

"He's a guy who can make plays, go hard to the net and score goals," forward Mathieu Darche told the Canadiens' official website.

Bourque, who had 13 goals and three assists in 38 games for the Flames this season, has finished serving a five-game suspension for elbowing Washington's Nicklas Backstrom in the head Jan 3.

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