Big goal by Richards, strong game from Del Zotto

The Rangers saw a 3-0 first-period lead whittled to one goal after Montreal tallied twice in the second period, but center Brad Richards provided the necessary boost to top the Canadiens 5-3 for the team's third straight win.

On a give-and-go with Brandon Prust, Richards ripped a wrist shot through traffic to beat Habs goaltender Carey Price and give the Rangers a 4-2 cushion with less than two minutes remaining in the second period.

Richards now has five points (three goals, two assists) over the last four games.

"A goal at the end of the period, when you had the three-goal lead and it's whittled down to one, is always nice to get one and then regroup," Richards said. "You have more of a lead going into the third period and it's a totally different game."

Montreal cut the Rangers' lead down to one goal again in the third, but the Rangers held on for their third straight win of the season. Captain Ryan Callahan scored an empty-netter with less than 39 seconds in regulation.

"It was a big goal," coach John Tortorella said of Richards' fourth of the season. "You could tell it was going to be one of those periods. To come away, up two, going into the third period was important."

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Michael Del Zotto, 21, earned the Broadway hat for his effort Saturday that included a goal and a whopping 27:26 in ice time.

Del Zotto finished a beautiful move with a backhand flourish to give the team a 3-0 lead at 17:40 on his second goal of the season.

"[Stepan] makes a great play. Pretty easy move for me, just bringing it to my backhand and going five-hole," he said.

The third-year defenseman played big minutes in the absence of Michael Sauer, who was ejected with a game misconduct after a fight in the first period.

"He's played really well," Tortorella said of Del Zotto. "He makes mistakes, but everyone makes mistakes. He's able to not let it affect him. His decision-making keeps getting better and better."

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Artem Anismov, who appeared to be injured after taking a shot to the right skate in the second period, returned for the third period.

Anisimov said he underwent X-rays during the game, but they came back negative.