Ryder's goal lifts Canadiens over Rangers in OT

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens already have a shootout

specialist. He's Michael Ryder and he doesn't even wait for the

NHL's new tiebreaker.

Michael Ryder (right) celebrates his game-winning overtime goal Thursday night.<br>AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
Michael Ryder (right) celebrates his game-winning overtime goal Thursday night.<br>AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Ryder struck late for the second straight night, firing a wrist

shot off goaltender Kevin Weekes 2:10 into overtime to give the

Canadiens a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday.

The 25-year-old forward won Wednesday's season opener at Boston

by scoring the clinching goal with 11 seconds left. Taking

Montreal's only shot of the overtime against the Rangers, Ryder let

one go from the right circle that appeared to hit Weekes' stick on

the way in.

"I don't know if it hit his pad or what it went off, but it

managed to go in," said Ryder, who also scored Montreal's first

goal Thursday.

Three goals in two games is a fine start, even better when you

consider that Ryder missed five exhibition games with a sprained

right ankle. He came back to score two preseason goals and set up


Ryder hasn't missed a beat now that the games count.

"Right now he's hot," captain Saku Koivu said. "Two big, big

goals for us. Somebody has to do it, but he's been doing it."

The Rangers, who opened the season by rallying from a two-goal

deficit to win at Philadelphia on Wednesday, salvaged one point

when Dominic Moore tied it with 2:36 left in regulation.

"It does show some type of mettle about our team but that's not

a habit we want to get into," coach Tom Renney said.

Alexander Perezhogin gave the Canadiens a 3-2 lead in the second

period with his first NHL goal in his first game.

Perezhogin, the last Canadiens forward to make the roster,

didn't dress Wednesday. He got into the lineup Thursday because of

Richard Zednik's groin injury that sidelined him early against the


And he made the most of his opportunity.

Perezhogin took a lead pass from former Rangers star Alex

Kovalev and scored on a breakaway 6:07 into the middle period.

Chris Higgins also scored for Montreal, which has a game in

Toronto on Saturday before its home opener against Ottawa on

Tuesday. Jose Theodore made 16 saves for his second straight win.

Marcel Hossa, acquired last Friday from Montreal, scored his

second goal of the season and Martin Rucinsky added one for the


The Rangers fed off the emotion of a 20-minute pregame ceremony

for the home opener and took the play to Montreal during the first

few minutes.

"I thought for a second game in two nights that we came out a

little flat, but as the period went on and in the second period we

really played well," Theodore said. "We worked hard and we were

able to get the win in overtime."

Hossa gave New York its second 1-0 lead in two nights when he

finished off a pretty passing play with Martin Straka and Steve

Rucchin -- who each have three assists -- and slammed a shot past

Theodore just 65 seconds in.

The Rangers had a chance to grab a two-goal lead when Jan Bulis

was sent off for hooking at 1:28 and four minutes later when Pierre

Dagenais was whistled for holding but they couldn't cash in on the

power play. They finished 1-for-6 while killing off 10 of 11

short-handed situations.

"We want to play 5-on-5 hockey," Rucchin said. "It's

unacceptable, too many penalties. You're not giving yourself a very

good chance to win when you're in the penalty box as much as we

have been. We are really fortunate to have gotten three out of four


Fans were in full throat urging on the home team that hasn't

made the playoffs since 1997 -- when former captain Mark Messier

said goodbye to the Rangers the first time and Wayne Gretzky wore

No. 99 in New York blue.

But the only parade the cheering faithful were treated to was

the march to the penalty box the Rangers staged through the

preseason and now through two regular-season games. It didn't cost

them much on Wednesday, either, because the Flyers managed just one

power-play goal in 10 chances.

Montreal had five power plays in the first period, but again the

Rangers' penalty killers limited the damage to just Ryder's goal

that tied it at 1 at 9:03.

"We didn't play good enough to win the hockey game. We should

be happy to take a point," Jaromir Jagr said.

Higgins gave the Canadiens their first lead against the Rangers

at 15:00 when he took a pass from Tomas Plekanac and directed it

past Weekes, who made 24 saves.Game notes
Montreal leads the series between the Original Six clubs

309-178-94. They are 119-118-54 at Madison Square Garden. ...

Kovalev has two assists in two games. ... The Canadiens have won

five straight road games against the Rangers. ... New York, which

killed two of three 5-on-3 disadvantages Wednesday, fought off two

more Thursday.