Series (Game 2 of 4)

Montreal leads 4-0

Game 1: Friday, October 11th
Game 2: Thursday, December 19th
Game 3: Thursday, January 9th
Game 4: Saturday, April 5th

Canadiens 3

(15-12-2, 36 pts)

Rangers 1

(13-17-1, 31 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 19, 2002

Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

1 2 3 T
MTL 1 1 13
NYR 0 0 11

J. Theodore (Canadiens - G): Saves: 41, Save Pct.: .976

Y. Perreault (Canadiens - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Gilmour (Canadiens - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Perreault scores twice in Canadiens' victory

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens used a patient style of play, strong goaltending from Jose Theodore, and a pair of goals from Yanic Perreault to beat the New York Rangers.

Jose Theodore

Theodore stopped 41 shots in an outstanding effort that paced the 3-1 victory Thursday night.

"He kept us in the game,'' Perreault said, "and gave us a chance to win. He's a big part of our team.''

Perreault's second goal of the game and 16th of the season put Montreal ahead 3-0 at 2:13 of the third period. With the Canadiens on a power play, Doug Gilmour slid a cross-ice pass from the right circle to Perreault, who wristed a shot past Mike Dunham from five feet.

"I had some great chances,'' Perreault said. "It's good to have a two-goal game. We're trying to play as patient as we can and we will score some goals on our chances. Then we get a chance to play with the lead, which is good for us.''

Gilmour assisted on both of Perreault's goals, giving him seven points in the last three games.

"Dougie has been outstanding,'' Perreault said. "The team as a whole has been playing very well over the last two weeks.''

The Canadiens absorbed a first-period onslaught from the Rangers, who outshot them 14-6. Theodore was sharp, particularly on a right-point blast from Tom Poti on a Rangers power play and a close-in chance from Radek Dvorak at the buzzer.

"When you have 42 shots that gives you a chance,'' Rangers coach Bryan Trottier said. "We had some good rebounds. You can give credit to the goaltender. We had some good screens and those are chances you generate.''

Montreal took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal at 10:27 of the first period by Richard Zednik.

Zednik, standing with his back to the goal in the slot, deflected a point shot from Patrice Brisebois for his 15th goal. The shot was only the second of the game for the Canadiens.

Perreault gave Montreal a 2-0 lead at 15:18 of the second period. After Dunham made a tough save on Gilmour, Perreault, trailing the play, was able to slip the puck between the goalie's pads.

Eric Lindros pulled New York within 3-1 at 11:04 of the third period with his 10th of the season.

"If you're only going to score one goal,'' Trottier said, "it means you have to be that much tighter on the penalty kill and in the defensive zone.''

Game notes

Canadian singer Sass Jordan sang the national anthems for Canada and the United States. ... New York defensemen Brian Leetch, Dale Purinton and Sylvain Lefebvre were scratched and are on the injured reserve list, as is forward Pavel Bure. ... Oleg Petrov was scratched for Canadiens. ... The Rangers signed D Bryce Lampman.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press