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NYR@MTL: Fright night

Habs and Rangers fittingly serve up a thriller during Halloween Night at the Bell Centre

by Steven Nechay @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL -- With four points and the game-winner, Phillip Danault looked scary good during Halloween Night at the Bell Centre.

But not before the Habs and Rangers fittingly served up a thriller before a costumed crowd in Montreal.

Video: NYR@MTL: Halloween costume contest at the Bell Centre

Early on, it looked like the Canadiens would enjoy a night of no tricks and just treats, as the club jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the opening 13:15, courtesy of Paul Byron, Alex Galchenyuk, and Phillip Danault. It marked the second time this week that Montreal would tally a trio of goals in a single period, doing the same against Florida in the middle frame on Tuesday.

The Rangers meanwhile were limited to just two shots on goal in the first.

"It was probably one of our best games," acknowledged Danault. "We were hungry, and we worked for our bounces. It was overall a great game from everybody."

Then came the frights.

Two goals briefly got New York within one in the middle frame before Max Pacioretty served up a temporary momentum-killer to leave things at 4-2 after 40.

Video: NYR@MTL: Pacioretty jams in rebound past Pavelec

But just seven minutes into the third, the Rangers made it a new game at 4-4.

Then came the character.

"[I told myself] let's go out there and try to be the difference. Let's try to win this game," underlined Pacioretty, who was one of four Habs to fire five-plus shots on goal. "We've been in this position so many times this year, and what good comes out of feeling sorry for yourself? Everyone had the right mindset, and it showed with a full team effort."

A full team effort to the tune of nine different Habs picking up points on the night, and Danault leading the way with a career-best two goals and two assists -- including the winner at 9:37 in the third.

"Yeah, I mean I feel good, but it's always the win that's most important," stressed the 24-year-old, who was also named the night's first star. "Obviously [Pacioretty, Andrew Shaw, and I] had a great game as a line, but tonight it was important for us to play a big game, and we did."

Video: NYR@MTL: Danault pots rebound for second of the game

"It was huge. It was definitely a playoff-like game for two teams who desperately needed the win out there," added Byron, who opened the scoring at 7:51 in the first for his third of the season. "We knew they weren't going to give up at 3-0. We knew they were going to bounce right back at us and come out hard in the second period. To get that goal in the second from Max, and then Phil's big game-winner, that was huge for us. Now we just need to keep carrying forward, take tonight as a positive, and work our way out of this little funk we've been in."

Indeed, after a slow start to the season which saw the Habs averaging 1.7 goals per game through their first 10, the team has now put up 10 in their last three.

"I think it gives our offence a lot of confidence," continued the Ottawa native. "You see scores around the league, and you know one or two goals aren't enough to win anymore. It gives all our forwards and defensemen confidence to know that we can score goals."

Video: Phillip Danault on his 4-point night vs. NYR

Now the trick will be to continue looking this scary, well past Halloween on Tuesday.

"We had five the other night too, so we need to play with that confidence, not grip the stick, and keep working hard to get those chances," concluded Byron.

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