EditorsNote: adds first name to "Nick Cousins" in fourth graf
Nate Thompson scored the game-winning goal with 67 seconds left in the third period, and the visiting Montreal Canadiens edged the New York Rangers 2-1 on Friday night.
Despite the teams combining for 63 shots on goal, most of the game was a tight defensive struggle with few scoring chances.
Thompson gave the Canadiens their second win in the last 11 games (2-6-3) by scoring his eighth career game-winning goal and first since the 2014-15 season with Anaheim.
The Canadiens were set up the defensive zone when New York's Brendan Lemieux attempted to send the puck through the neutral zone. Nick Suzuki gained possession and quickly found Nick Cousins, whose shot from between the circles was initially stopped by Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev.
Georgiev could not control the rebound, and the puck went to Thompson, who was trailing the play. Thompson finished off the sequence by getting near the net and sweeping a backhander past Georgiev for his second goal of the season.
Montreal's Brendan Gallagher scored for the third straight game in the first period while Brendan Smith scored early in the second for New York, which fell to 5-2-1 in its last eight games.
Montreal goaltender Carey Price made 29 saves while Georgiev made 31 saves.
Montreal took the lead with 9:23 remaining in the first period by easily moving the puck around. After successfully clearing the puck from its defensive zone, Montreal moved it past the neutral zone to Tomas Tatar.
Tatar made a slick pass to Phillip Danault, who found Gallagher cutting to the net. Gallagher finished the play by getting past Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo and lifting a shot into the net before Georgiev could get in position to make the save.
The Rangers tied the game 2:30 into the second when a pass from the corner hopped over Montreal defenseman Otto Leskinen's skate near the blue line. Smith gained possession in the neutral zone and lifted a backhander over a sprawling Price from the left side of the crease.
--Field Level Media