MONTREAL (AP) -- The New York Rangers hope that playing almost well enough to win has them heading in the right direction.
Alexei Kovalev scored with 5:06 remaining in regulation to give the Rangers a 2-2 tie with Montreal on Saturday night.
Kovalev took Eric Lindros' pass from the boards behind the goal line and beat goalie Jose Theodore through the legs.
"I think overall we controlled the game," Lindros said. "Unfortunately, we only got one point out of it, but we played a pretty solid game and we're happy with that."
Montreal's Pierre Dagenais, who scored his fifth goal in six games in the first, hit the post in overtime.
Rangers goalie Mike Dunham made 25 saves, including a sprawling stop to deny Michael Ryder -- the Canadiens' other goal scorer -- late in the extra frame.
The Canadiens were on the power-play for the final 1:38 after Martin Rucinsky was sent off for cross-checking Mike Ribeiro into the boards from behind.
"I think goaltending is a factor in any NHL game nowadays," said Rucinsky, who had two assists. "Teams that want to win games or want to stay in games, they have to have goaltending and we had it tonight. That's one more thing we need to win."
Bobby Holik also scored for New York, which earned at least a point for the fifth straight game (2-0-2-1).
Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore made 27 saves, stopping Rucinsky in the second on a two-man short-handed break with Petr Nedved. Montreal is 7-1-2-1 in its last 11 games.
"It was an overall bad game from us," Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said. "We didn't play well at all, and Theo was sharp and he made some great saves. They were a better team tonight so we have to be really happy with one point."
Montreal had won a season-high three straight for the third time this season, and second time in seven games.
Ryder broke a 1-1 tie 3:17 into the third. The rookie carried the puck out of the left corner and cut across the circle before firing a shot over Dunham's left shoulder.
"They got the power-play goal, and then we're fighting from behind again against a goalie who's playing pretty well," Rangers captain Mark Messier said.
The Rangers had the potential tying goal disallowed moments later after a review that lasted several minutes. Referees Don Van Massenhoven and Dave Jackson conferred between themselves, and with video replay officials, before the goal was finally disallowed when it was determined that Chris Simon struck the puck with a high stick.
"I didn't really see the high stick," Theodore said. "I just knew that the referee blew the whistle before the puck crossed the red line and he should have stopped there, and that's it."
Both teams wore retro uniforms. The Rangers were in the short-lived blue jerseys from 1976-77, featuring the team crest on the chest and a broad white stripe along the arms and shoulders.
The Canadiens wore copies of their 1945-46 uniform, the team's first version of a white sweater with the broad blue band around the chest and arms.
Dagenais scored 9:01 in, extending his point streak to six games. Dagenais, who has 10 goals in 24 games since being recalled from Hamilton of the AHL, drove a shot over Dunham's right shoulder from the top of the right circle.
Theodore made a pair of fine saves to deny Simon in the first as the Rangers outshot Montreal 9-5. He also caught a break late in the period when Petr Nedved's wrist shot from the right circle hit the left post with about 10 seconds remaining.
Holik tied it 5:08 into the second when he finished off a give-and-go with linemates Rucinsky and Kovalev.
|Pierre Dagenais (10) ASST: Mike Ribeiro (27), Richard Zednik (12)|
1 - 0 MTL
|Bobby Holik (12) ASST: Martin Rucinsky (20), Alex Kovalev (25)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Michael Ryder (13) ASST: NONE|
2 - 1 MTL
|Alex Kovalev (10) ASST: Eric Lindros (19), Martin Rucinsky (21)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Darius Kasparaitis Tripping against Niklas Sundstrom|
|Jason Ward Tripping against Alex Kovalev|
|Darius Kasparaitis Hi-sticking against Pierre Dagenais|
|Anson Carter Hi-sticking against Joseph Juneau|
|Jan Bulis Hi-sticking against Jan Hlavac|
|Martin Rucinsky Cross checking against Mike Ribeiro|
|Michael Ryder Roughing against Darius Kasparaitis|
|Darius Kasparaitis Roughing against Michael Ryder|