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Stanley Cup Final

Montreal Canadiens earn a day off practice after fifth straight victory

Wednesday, 02.20.2013 / 5:55 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Montreal Canadiens earn a day off practice after fifth straight victory

MONTREAL - The surging Montreal Canadiens earned a day off on Wednesday following a fifth consecutive victory that propelled them to the top of the NHL's Eastern Conference standings.

The break came after the Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers 3-1 in the Big Apple on Tuesday night to win five straight for the first time in nearly two years.

Up next for Montreal, which has 23 points after 16 games, are home games against the New York Islanders on Thursday and the Rangers on Saturday.

The two contests at the Bell Centre could prove crucial come the end of the 48-game season because the Canadiens begin a stretch of 11 games out of 15 on the road on Monday.

One pleasant surprise for the Canadiens has been the robust play of Brandon Prust, who signed a four-year deal worth $10 million last summer.

It is not clear whether rookie winger Brendan Gallagher will return to action this week. He suffered a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers last Saturday and has missed the Habs' last two games.

Quote of the Day

For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday