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Montr?al Canadiens 4, New York Rangers 3 FINAL OT @NHLdotcom

NEW YORK (AP) - The Montreal Canadiens already have a shootout specialist. He's Michael Ryder and he doesn't even wait for the NHL's new tiebreaker.

Ryder struck late for the second straight night, firing a wrist shot off goaltender Kevin Weekes 2:10 into overtime to give the Canadiens a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday.

The 25-year-old forward won Wednesday's season opener at Boston by scoring the clinching goal with 11 seconds left. Taking Montreal's only shot of the overtime against the Rangers, Ryder let one go from the right circle that appeared to hit Weekes' stick on the way in.

``I don't know if it hit his pad or what it went off, but it managed to go in,'' said Ryder, who also scored Montreal's first goal Thursday.

Three goals in two games is a fine start, even better when you consider that Ryder missed five exhibition games with a sprained right ankle. He came back to score two preseason goals and set up another.

Ryder hasn't missed a beat now that the games count.

``Right now he's hot,'' captain Saku Koivu said. ``Two big, big goals for us. Somebody has to do it, but he's been doing it.''

The Rangers, who opened the season by rallying from a two-goal deficit to win at Philadelphia on Wednesday, salvaged one point when Dominic Moore tied it with 2:36 left in regulation.

``It does show some type of mettle about our team but that's not a habit we want to get into,'' coach Tom Renney said.

Alexander Perezhogin gave the Canadiens a 3-2 lead in the second period with his first NHL goal in his first game.

Perezhogin, the last Canadiens forward to make the roster, didn't dress Wednesday. He got into the lineup Thursday because of Richard Zednik's groin injury that sidelined him early against the Bruins.

And he made the most of his opportunity.

Perezhogin took a lead pass from former Rangers star Alex Kovalev and scored on a breakaway 6:07 into the middle period.

Chris Higgins also scored for Montreal, which has a game in Toronto on Saturday before its home opener against Ottawa on Tuesday. Jose Theodore made 16 saves for his second straight win.

Marcel Hossa, acquired last Friday from Montreal, scored his second goal of the season and Martin Rucinsky added one for the Rangers.

The Rangers fed off the emotion of a 20-minute pregame ceremony for the home opener and took the play to Montreal during the first few minutes.

``I thought for a second game in two nights that we came out a little flat, but as the period went on and in the second period we really played well,'' Theodore said. ``We worked hard and we were able to get the win in overtime.''

Hossa gave New York its second 1-0 lead in two nights when he finished off a pretty passing play with Martin Straka and Steve Rucchin - who each have three assists - and slammed a shot past Theodore just 65 seconds in.

The Rangers had a chance to grab a two-goal lead when Jan Bulis was sent off for hooking at 1:28 and four minutes later when Pierre Dagenais was whistled for holding but they couldn't cash in on the power play. They finished 1-for-6 while killing off 10 of 11 short-handed situations.

``We want to play 5-on-5 hockey,'' Rucchin said. ``It's unacceptable, too many penalties. You're not giving yourself a very good chance to win when you're in the penalty box as much as we have been. We are really fortunate to have gotten three out of four points.''

Fans were in full throat urging on the home team that hasn't made the playoffs since 1997 - when former captain Mark Messier said goodbye to the Rangers the first time and Wayne Gretzky wore No. 99 in New York blue.

But the only parade the cheering faithful were treated to was the march to the penalty box the Rangers staged through the preseason and now through two regular-season games. It didn't cost them much on Wednesday, either, because the Flyers managed just one power-play goal in 10 chances.

Montreal had five power plays in the first period, but again the Rangers' penalty killers limited the damage to just Ryder's goal that tied it at 1 at 9:03.

``We didn't play good enough to win the hockey game. We should be happy to take a point,'' Jaromir Jagr said.

Higgins gave the Canadiens their first lead against the Rangers at 15:00 when he took a pass from Tomas Plekanac and directed it past Weekes, who made 24 saves.

Notes: Montreal leads the series between the Original Six clubs 309-178-94. They are 119-118-54 at Madison Square Garden. ... Kovalev has two assists in two games. ... The Canadiens have won five straight road games against the Rangers. ... New York, which killed two of three 5-on-3 disadvantages Wednesday, fought off two more Thursday.

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