A visit from an Original Six rival less than a week ago helped the New York Rangers rediscover their scoring touch. They hope facing that same longtime foe on the road will provide a similar result.
Coming off a shutout loss in which one of their biggest stars was involved in a rare fight, the Rangers on Saturday night head to the Bell Center to face the Montreal Canadiens.
After being outscored 7-1 during a three-game slide from Jan. 12-16, New York (24-20-7) appeared headed toward another defeat Sunday at home, where they spotted Montreal an early two-goal lead. However, the Rangers ended up cruising to a 6-2 victory as Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky each scored twice.
"I'm not going to say we've been frustrated because I've said all along I think we're capable of scoring and playing well," Dubinsky said. "We just had to stick with it and hope that it was going to break out. … Hopefully we can keep it going and keep putting the puck in the back of the net."
Two nights later, the Rangers posted their highest-scoring game of the season with an 8-2 rout of Tampa Bay behind a career high-tying four assists from Marian Gaborik.
That offensive momentum came to a sudden halt with Thursday's 2-0 loss at Philadelphia -- New York's third shutout defeat in six games. Gaborik failed to record a shot for the second time this season, but picked up the second fighting major in his 551-game career following a scrap with enforcer Daniel Carcillo.
"There's no honor in that," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "I don't play the game, I don't wear the uniform, I don't want to say too much about it, but there's simply no honor in that."
Gaborik needs one goal to reach 30 for the sixth time, and two points for 500 in his career. He has two goals and three assists in two games versus the Canadiens, helping New York pick up three of a possible four points.
Henrik Lundqvist has kept the Rangers in most games recently, going 6-2-2 with a 1.49 goals-against average and a shutout in his last 10 starts. However, the Swedish Olympian is 1-1-2 with a 4.51 GAA in his last four games in Montreal.
It was there where Lundqvist stopped 26 shots on Oct. 24 in a 5-4 overtime loss. Michael Cammalleri's game-winner also completed his first hat trick with the Canadiens, and he has four goals and an assist in two matchups this season.
Montreal (24-23-5) returns home after snapping a six-game losing streak to Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey with a 3-1 victory Friday.
"It's great to win a game, especially against the Devils," said Jaroslav Halak, who stopped 31 shots, including all 14 he faced in the third period. "We need two points to get back into playoff position. We did a great job after they scored the first goal. We didn't give up, and stuck to the game plan."
With 53 points, Montreal is tied with Philadelphia for ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are sixth with 55 points.
Halak, who gave up all six goals in Sunday's loss, is 2-0-0 at home in his career versus New York despite a 3.93 GAA. Carey Price hasn't faced the Rangers this season, and is 1-0-1 with a 3.46 GAA at home against them.
Cammalleri, who has a three-game goal-scoring streak, leads Montreal with 24.
Montreal will be without former Rangers defenseman Paul Mara, who suffered an upper-body injury in Friday's win. Ryan O'Byrne will take Mara's spot in the lineup.