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NHL Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens Make A Statement In Win Over New York Rangers

Montreal Canadiens P.K. Subban

Eric Bolte – USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens extended their Northeast Division lead over the Boston Bruins on Saturday as they defeated the New York Rangers convincingly and the Bruins lost to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Canadiens got a balanced performance from their entire team in the win, and now trail only the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference standings.

Carey Price earned his third shutout of the season, making 34 saves. He has now shut out the Rangers twice this season, and should be a frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy based on his 17-6-4 record and 2.28 goals-against average. P.K. Subban assisted on all three Canadiens goals, and has 27 points in 28 games. Montreal has thrived this season thanks to a huge offensive contribution from their defense, and Subban and Andrei Markov are responsible for most of that success. Subban has five points in two games, including a goal and an assist in a huge 6-5 shootout win over the Bruins on Wednesday.

Michael Ryder and Tomas Plekanec each netted their 13th goal of the season in the first period. Plekanec is having a great bounce-back season, and Ryder has been a great addition for the team since being acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars. Rookie Brendan Gallagher scored the third goal for the Canadiens, and with 11 goals and 20 points he could find himself in contention for the Calder Trophy.

While the Canadiens’ season has many of their players in line to collect some individual hardware, the big win on Saturday showed that this team is still focused on bringing home the most important piece of team hardware, the Stanley Cup.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL senior writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to you network on Google.