Series (Game 4 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

Rangers 4

(32-36-4, 78 pts)

Canadiens 5

(30-35-9, 77 pts)

7:00 PM ET, April 5, 2003

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
NYR 1 0 34
MTL 0 3 25

Y. Perreault (Canadiens - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

S. McCarthy (Rangers - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

S. Quintal (Canadiens - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Habs end disappointing season on high note

MONTREAL (AP) -- Their disappointing seasons over, the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers searched for positives.



Stephane Quintal scored with 2:14 left in the third period to give Montreal a 5-4 victory over New York on Saturday night.

Yanic Perreault had two goals and an assist, and Richard Zednik and Saku Koivu also scored for Montreal.

Sandy McCarthy had his first career two-goal game for New York, which was eliminated from playoff contention Friday night.

"I'll take the joy out of that and go into the summer on a personal high note,'' McCarthy said. "We just didn't do the little things we had to do to win hockey games. It doesn't matter who you've got on your team, if you're not willing to pay the price, you're not going to win.''

New York, which also got goals from Petr Nedved and Eric Lindros, finished ninth in the East with 78 points.

The Rangers extended their postseason drought to a team-record six seasons despite signing free agents Bobby Holik and Darius Kasparaitis in the offseason and then acquiring Alexei Kovalev and Anson Carter prior to the trading deadline.

"For people on the outside, they look at names or talent but in this league nowadays that's not good enough,'' Holik said. "It's hard work and dedication that comes first and tonight is just too early to analyze everything that needed to be done to have a better year. But it's not a good feeling having a sense of no accomplishment whatsoever.''

The Canadiens, who were eliminated from postseason contention a week earlier, finished 10th with 77 points.

"We just have to be a better team,'' Koivu said. "We have the talent, but we need a better team performance than what we showed this year.''

Montreal missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons, the worst postseason drought in the franchise's championship-laden history.

"It's a season we have to put behind us,'' Quintal said. "Maybe they'll make some changes and come back in September. We have to be a lot better next year. The young guys did a good job but it's the core of veterans that has to step up and play a lot better.''

Rangers captain Mark Messier didn't play because of a rib injury. The 42-year-old Messier has yet to indicate whether he will return for a 25th NHL season.

Kovalev left the game after he was struck under the left eye by Canadiens defenseman Mike Komisarek's stick. The Rangers forward told reporters that his vision was OK and that he would have the eye checked on Sunday.

"I couldn't see anything until I got to the locker room,'' said Kovalev, who had a multicolored welt around his eye along with a six-stitch gash.

McCarthy opened the scoring with 4:35 left in the first period when his shot got behind goalie Jose Theodore and trickled just over the goal line before Canadiens defenseman Craig Rivet swiped the puck clear.

Perreault, who had just three goals in his previous 36 games, scored two just 2:20 apart early in the second. He got his 23rd 1:10 into the second and put Montreal up 2-1 with his 24th at 3:30.

Zednik extended his career high -- with a big boost from Rangers forward Matthew Barnaby -- at 6:54. From behind the net, Zednik put the puck out front where Barnaby wheeled and inadvertently backhanded a shot past Rangers goalie Dan Blackburn to increase the Canadiens' lead to two.

"That's been the way this year's gone,'' Barnaby said. "I've never had that happen to me so it was a little shocking, but I'm just glad it was in a nothing game. It would have killed me if it was in a big, big game.''

Nedved drew New York back within one with his 27th goal two minutes into the third, and McCarthy got his sixth of the season at 6:48 to tie it at 3.

Quintal scored his fifth of the season with 2:14 left to put Montreal ahead 4-3. Koivu scored his 21st into an empty net with 49.4 seconds left before Lindros ended a 16-game scoring drought when he scored his 19th with 16.7 seconds remaining.

Game notes

Linesman Gerard Gauthier called his 2,345th and final NHL regular-season game, ending a 32-year career. Gauthier dropped the puck for the opening faceoff and was given a warm ovation from the Bell Centre crowd. ... McCarthy has 68 goals in 686 career regular season games. ... The crowd was Montreal's 25th sellout of the season, and its 11th straight.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press