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Talbot's shutout gives Rangers rare win in Montreal

by James Murphy

MONTREAL -- The New York Rangers turned to Cam Talbot to finally get a win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Talbot, giving Henrik Lundqvist a night off, made 22 saves for his first NHL shutout, and Ryan Callahan scored on the power play 5:25 into the second period for the Rangers, who had lost eight straight games here.

"It's special, and it would've been special in any building for the shutout, but obviously tonight being Hockey Night In Canada and Saturday night in Montreal, it doesn't get much better than that," Talbot said of his shutout, the first by New York at Montreal since Eddie Giacomin's 5-0 win Feb. 25, 1967.

With Lundqvist's 4-5-2 career record at Bell Centre, a 3.87 goals-against average and .876 save percentage, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault gave rookie Talbot the start. The 26-year-old made key saves early in the second period on the Rangers' first power play when the Canadiens started buzzing and had two shorthanded chances.

The Rangers apparently fed off his play, with Callahan's goal coming shortly after a tripping call on Max Pacioretty. Talbot, playing his fifth NHL game, seemed to get even better after that, stifling the Canadiens' late flurry in the period.

"He had made some good saves before, but obviously momentum can switch so much on a power play, and if they're able to find the back of the net there, they've got momentum and they've got the lead and it's a different game," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "But he made big saves, and then we were able to score just at the end of the 5-on-3."

Vigneault pointed out it was a moment to remember for Talbot, but it has been close to the norm when he and his team have turned to him.

"Well I'm sure it's going to be something that he's going to remember for the rest of his life and his career," Vigneault said. "Cam, since the first time we called him up, he's played five games for us right now and he's played extremely well in every game. He's given us a chance to win, and tonight, even though they didn't get a lot in the third period, he had a couple of saves to make at one point when we turned the puck over. He had two huge saves and he did what we need from our goaltenders. He gave us chance to win the game and he was real solid for us tonight."

Talbot said he battled in the final minutes to not think about what he was about to accomplish.

"You try to, yeah," Talbot said. "Until that final buzzer rings, you kind of have to block it out like it's not done yet. Anything can happen, especially in a 1-0 game, so you put it in the back of your mind and not think about it until it's actually done."

Montreal goalie Carey Price made 33 saves, after making 44 in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Peter Budaj played Friday in a 3-2 shootout win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"We put in an honest effort tonight," Price said. "That was a tough few games we just played; we got in late last night, and I don't want to make excuses, but the guys played really hard in front of me tonight."

Price withstood a Rangers onslaught in the first period and kept the Canadiens in it in the third by making 10 saves, including a glove save on Brad Richards with 2:02 left.

"He's been that way all year and we've been talking about it all year," Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said of Price. "He's given us a chance, and unfortunately we need to find ways to generate more pressure."

New York's prior win here was 4-3 in a shootout March 17, 2009; their prior regulation win was Feb. 3, 2008.

Richards, asked if he could really enjoy the atmosphere with the Rangers' lack of success at Bell Centre, said, "Being from Quebec and knowing the history and how fun it is to play here, you have to.

"We made a joke before the game that there's no ghosts here, and this is a great place to play, so let's go have some fun. I think you guys [the media] or people in New York talk about it a lot, but still this is my favorite place to come in on the road and play. This is by far the best building."

Richards was then asked if he was happy to not have to answer any more questions about the aforementioned ghosts.

"Yeah, it's great. I'm done answering them," Richards said.

Richards and Derek Stepan each got his 10th assist of the season; Richards has 16 points to lead the team, and Stepan is second with 14.

Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin returned to play his first game since suffering a knee injury April 6. Forward Brandon Prust (shoulder) got back in the lineup Friday.

The Rangers were playing the first of a back-to-back set; they will head home to face the Los Angeles Kings at Madison Square Garden. Montreal next plays Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild at Bell Centre.

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