MONTREAL (AP)-– Michael Ryder and Tomas Plekanec scored in the first period and Carey Price made 34 saves and the Montreal Canadiens shut out the New York Rangers 3-0 on Saturday night.
Brendan Gallagher also scored while P.K. Subban had three assists for the Canadiens, who swept their three games with New York this season, outscoring the Rangers 9-1.
The Canadiens moved three points ahead of Boston for first place in the Northeast Division.
The Rangers, the NHL’s lowest-scoring team, were coming off a 3-0 shutout loss in Ottawa on Thursday night. Once again, they failed to score for goalie Martin Biron, who has seen his team shut out in his past four starts in Montreal since 2011.
Price, who was pulled from a 6-5 win in Boston on Wednesday, got his third shutout of the season and 19th of his career.
Subban’s second three-point game of the season gave him 27 points in 28 games.
The Rangers’ offensive woes continued through the first period when they failed to beat Price despite 17 shots on goal, while the Canadiens grabbed an early 2-0 lead.
Ryder was buying time for his team during a line change when he played a puck off the end boards. It hit the side of the net and came right back to him to slide in for his fifth goal in the past five games only 47 seconds into the game.
Subban came out of the penalty box to join a 2-on-1 break, but Plekanec opted to shoot and picked the far corner at 18:11.
Montreal was on a power play in the second period when a Subban point shot caused a melee in front of Biron until Gallagher dug the puck out and lifted it over the fallen goalie at 11:02.
First-round draft pick Nathan Beaulieu made his NHL debut on defense and looked nervous, but got some power play time.
Marian Gaborik’s demotion to the fourth line lasted one shift. Then he joined Brad Richards’ unit.
Notes: The Canadiens put defenseman Tomas Kaberle on waivers, perhaps to free space for a trade before Wednesday’s deadline. — Brandon Prust returned after missing eight games with a shoulder injury. — The Rangers gave Biron the start after Henrik Lundqvist, who struggles against Montreal, played nine straight. — Mats Zuccarello, who returned to New York this week from the KHL, played his first game back with his former club.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)