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Few opponents have been able to beat the New York Rangers lately, particularly in games that have gone past regulation.

The Rangers seek their fifth win in six games on Thursday night as they visit the Montreal Canadiens, who are in the midst of a record homestand.

New York (18-8-2) opened the season by winning 10 of its first 13 contests before stumbling at the start of November. The Rangers have since regrouped with a 7-3-0 stretch including five shootout victories.

On Wednesday, the Rangers rallied from a two-goal deficit, and all three shooters converted in the tiebreaker for a 3-2 home victory over Atlantic Division rival Pittsburgh that allowed New York to regain sole possession of the Eastern Conference lead.

"I think everyone stepped up," center Scott Gomez, who had two assists to reach 400 for his career, told the Rangers' official Web site. "The way we played from the second period on is the team we need to be."

New York has also been a tough in contests that have exceeded regulation, improving to 6-2 behind goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has played in all of those contests.

He earned his NHL-leading 16th victory on Wednesday after making 29 saves through overtime and stopping one of two attempts in the shootout. He has compiled a 2.17 goals-against average while starting 24 of the Rangers' 28 games.

Lundqvist likely will start again on Thursday. He is 7-2-1 with a 2.46 GAA in 11 career starts versus the Canadiens, and had won six straight decisions against them prior to a 6-5 shootout loss at the Bell Centre on Feb. 19.

Montreal (14-6-4) hasn't seen many of its games exceed regulation recently, and is 6-5 in those situations since that victory. It didn't need a tiebreaker in its latest contest despite a third-period meltdown.

With a 3-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes, the Canadiens allowed three unanswered goals in a 59-second span before a pair of tallies helped them hang on for a 5-4 home victory over league-worst Atlanta on Tuesday.

"When you get three goals scored against you that quickly when you're up 3-0, you kind of wonder what just happened there," said Montreal's Saku Koivu, who had two assists to push his team lead to 21 points.

The Canadiens captain has six goals and 27 assists in his last 29 matchups against New York.

In his only appearance against New York in February, Carey Price allowed three goals on 11 shots through the first 14 minutes before being removed.

However, Price enters having won three straight starts including the first two on this franchise-record seven-game homestand. He is 6-1-2 with a 2.02 GAA in nine outings at the Bell Centre.

New York, meanwhile, has won three of its last four road contests. It has alternated wins and losses in its last six in Montreal, but has won six of the teams' last eight matchups (6-1-1) since the start of the 2006-07 season.

EA SPORTS NHL09 Game Predictions
NY Rangers 3
Montreal 2 (SO)
Three Stars
G: 1 | A: 1

C - nyr
G: 1 | A: 1

c - mtl
G: 1 | A: 0


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