The Rangers scored three goals in a 67-second blitz to register their highest first period in any NHL game since 1999.
Rangers' first period blitz sets up 6-3 win over Montreal
The New York Rangers scored five goals in a devastating first period to lay the foundations for a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers piled on three goals in a 67-second blitz to register their highest first period in any NHL game since 1999 and boost their chances of making the play-offs.
Artem Anisimov and defenseman Dan Girardi both scored early goals for the Rangers but it was the triple strike from Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Brian Boyle that effectively sealed the result.
"We knew we had to have a quick start," New York's Brandon Dubinsky told reporters. "It was a playoff like atmosphere.
"We buried them early on and still had opportunities to build on our lead."
Callahan netted his 12th goal in 20 games while Gaborik and Boyle both scored their 21st of the season as the Rangers opened up a 5-1 lead they never surrendered.
The win kept New York (38-30-4) in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings, five points behind Montreal (39-26-7). It was the Rangers' fifth win from their last six games and their first in four clashes this season against their Original Six rivals.
Both teams set the tone for what was always expected to be a feisty encounter when Travis Moen and Brandon Prust were penalised for trading punches in the first second of the game.
The Canadiens, who got an early goal from All Star PK Subban, briefly threatened to stage a comeback when defenseman James Wisniewski scored the only goal of the second period and Brian Gionta netted early in the third to cut the margin to 5-3 that set local fans' pulses racing.
New York, however, ended the Canadiens' hopes of a comeback with a late goal from Vinny Prospal.
New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist saved 22 shots to register his 30th win of the season for the sixth successive year.
"If you look at the goals, there were breakdowns and they capitalised on it," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said.
"We turned pucks over, we weren't direct enough in our game especially in the first period and they took advantage of it."
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