NEW YORK (AP) — In the long, storied Original Six history of the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, the latest chapter will hardly be remembered fondly — by anyone.
The Canadiens, however, left as the happier of the teams after they rallied to gut out a 3-1 win Tuesday night that stretched Montreal's winning streak to five and ended the Rangers' run at points at five (4-0-1).
"I thought it was probably one of the worst hockey games I've been involved in. Both teams," terse Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "It was two bad teams playing, and we worse than they were.
"That pretty much sums it up, huh?"
The clubs combined for eight shots in the scoreless first period. They both mustered a goal in the second, and Montreal connected for two in the third — including an empty-netter.
Alex Galchenyuk broke the tie to put the Canadiens ahead for good. Montreal had 18 shots and made the most of little offense against Henrik Lundqvist.
"We were just really focused on getting the win," Galchenyuk said. "On the road, this was huge for us."
The Canadiens clogged up the middle to keep the Rangers from many scoring chances, either.
"It's a game of patience when you play a team like this," Lundqvist said. "They play extremely boring, but they're a smart team and they didn't give up much.
"We played a pretty good game. We just didn't come up with the big plays in the end."
The Canadiens tied it late in the second period on Max Pacioretty's goal and went ahead when Galchenyuk matched Pacioretty with his second of the season 1:48 into the third.
Carey Price was only slightly busier than Lundqvist, and made 24 saves for his third win in the Canadiens' surge. Peter Budaj won the previous two, including a 3-0 home victory over Carolina on Monday.
Raphael Diaz added an empty-net goal with 1:06 remaining for Montreal, which has outscored opponents 15-5 in its streak. The Canadiens didn't arrive in New York until the early morning hours Tuesday.
Defenseman Anton Stralman netted his second of the season in the second period, but it wasn't enough for the Rangers, who played without top-line forward Rick Nash.
Nash was ruled out about an hour before the game because of an undisclosed injury.
Brian Boyle nearly tied it with about 6 minutes left, but his short-handed chance hit the post. New York received its second power play with 3:06 left but couldn't cash in.
Despite registering only 10 shots in the first two periods, Montreal entered the third locked in a tie.
"That was a pretty gutsy road game," Price said. "Not easy to play against a team like that in their building. We played our style well.