Rangers Return to MSG, Habs Spoil Grand Re-Opening

After completing the longest road trip in franchise history with a 3-6-0 record, the Rangers finally get to play in front of a home crowd Monday night. The Rangers were forced to play the first month of the season on the road due to Madison Square Garden undergoing a three-year, $1 billion makeover. It the only viable way for the Rangers and Knicks to remain competitive in the facility arena when most teams opt to construct new arenas. The renovations took place over three years and the first sporting event post-renovations was last week when the Knicks hosted their final preseason game.

The Rangers weren’t so fortunate, playing all but one of their preseason games on the road. The lone neutral-site game was against Los Angeles in Las Vegas.

New York hoped to christen the new arena with a victory but weren’t fortunate as Montreal used goals from Thomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk in addition to 27 saves from Peter Budaj as the Canadiens won 2-0.

The Rangers did begin the game with a high level of adrenaline and energy as they attempted 10 shots during the first eight minutes. Five reached Budaj while the remaining five attempts were blocked. Among those were Chris Kreider reacting to a rebound off Budaj but the goalie lunged across the crease to get just enough of the puck to send it caroming off the post. The game was over six minutes old before the visiting Canadiens registered their first shot on Henrik Lundqvist.

The game went over 36 minutes before the red lamp was lit, and it was Plekanec scoring a power play goal with 3:26 remaining in the second and Brian Boyle in the penalty box serving a roughing penalty. Plekanec took a pass from Michael Bournival into the attacking zone and beat a sprawling Lundqvist on a backhand shot.

After several unsuccessful New York scoring attempts in the third period, the insurance marker came from Galchenyuk with under three minutes remaining when he took a cross-crease pass from Lars Eller and scored on an open net.

Both goalies faced 27 shots, with Lundqvist turning away 25. The Rangers remain at the bottom of the Metro division with six points and the Canadiens climb into a three-way tie for third in the Atlantic with fellow Original Six members Detroit and Boston.

It was the fourth straight win for the Canadiens over the Rangers, and the last time the Broadway Blueshirts beat les habitants was March 30, 2012.

Below is a time lapse over the last three years of renovations to Madison Square Garden.


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