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Montr?al Canadiens vs. New York Rangers

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GAME: Montreal Canadiens (1-0-0) at New York Rangers (1-0-0).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EDT.

Jaromir Jagr is looking like his old self.

Beginning his first full campaign in New York, Jagr hopes to build on a three-point season debut as the Rangers play their home opener against the Montreal Canadiens.

Jagr scored a pair of power-play goals in the third period Wednesday, leading the Rangers to a 5-3 victory over Philadelphia as the NHL returned after a lockout canceled the 2004-05 season.

Jason Strudwick, Jamie Lundmark and Marcel Hossa also scored for the Rangers, who overcame a two-goal deficit with four straight scores.

"He's a great leader and he was the difference," Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis said of Jagr, who was frustrated over being called for two penalties in the first two periods.

Jagr, a five-time Art Ross Trophy winner, was dealt to New York from Washington during the 2003-04 season. In 31 games with New York, he scored 15 goals to go with 14 assists.

The Canadiens opened the season with a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday as Michael Ryder scored the go-ahead power-play goal with 11.1 seconds remaining.

"I guess at the end there we got a little bit lucky, got a bounce, and found a way to win," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said.

Jan Bulis also had a goal, and Jose Theodore made 29 saves for Montreal.

Ryder's winner came on his only shot of the game as he backhanded in the rebound of Alex Kovalev's shot.

"I thought he played an average game," Julien said. "But good players find a way to make a difference, and although he had an average game, he found a way to score the winning goal."

STANDINGS: Canadiens - 2 points, 1st place (tied), Northeast Division. Rangers - 5 points, 1st place (tied), Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canadiens - Julis and Ryder, 1 goal; 4 players with 1 assist; 6 players with 1 point; Pierre Dagenais, 6 PIM. Rangers - Jagr, 2 goals, 3 points and 4 PIM; Martin Straka, three assists.

SPECIAL TEAM: Canadiens - Power play: 20.0 percent (1 for 5). Penalty killing: 100.0 percent (7 for 7), Rangers - Power play: 50.0 percent (2 for 4). Penalty killing: 90.0 percent (9 for 10).

GOALTENDERS: Canadiens - Theodore (1-0-0, 0 SO, 1.00 GAA). Yann Danis (no record). Rangers - Kevin Weekes (1-0-0, 0, 1.00); Henrik Lundqvist (no record).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Canadiens, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 23, 2004. Theodore made 31 saves to end a personal five-game losing streak. Saku Koivu had a goal and two assists for Montreal. Jagr scored the only goal for the Rangers.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canadiens - 1-0-0 on the road; Rangers - 0-1-0 at home.


Associated Press

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