Habs bid farewell to Boom Boom with a shutout

MONTREAL (AP) -- Cristobal Huet put the Montreal Canadiens on top
at the end of an emotional day.

Huet recorded his second shutout in two games and Craig Rivet
scored on a power play in the first period, leading Montreal to a
1-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

The sold-out crowd observed a moment of silence before the game
in honor of Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, who died earlier in the
day in Atlanta. Moments earlier Geoffrion's wife Marlene -- the
daughter of Canadiens great Howie Morenz -- and the couple's three
children raised Geoffrion's No. 5 jersey to the rafters alongside
the No. 7 of her father.

"I had a tear in my eye," Rivet said. "You really feel for
the family. You could see the emotion in their faces and it really
goes to show that it means a lot to play for this team. I don't
think people really realize that to put on the red, white and blue
sweater and the great players that have played ahead of myself,
it's truly an honor to be playing for this team."

Huet, who made 28 saves in Thursday's 3-0 win in Boston, stopped
26 shots in his 13th straight start and earned his fifth shutout of
the season. Huet had shutouts on consecutive days over Boston and
Philadelphia on Feb. 5-6.

Rivet scored his sixth goal at 17:15, beating Henrik Lundqvist
with 10 seconds remaining in New York defenseman Tom Poti's hooking

"It's tough," Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis said.
"Montreal was emotionally involved in the game."

New York was unable to score against Huet despite enjoying a
5-on-3 advantage for the first 1:41 of the third. The French-born
goalie made a fine glove save off Petr Sykora among several big
stops during that stretch.

"I think that was the key tonight, the 5-on-3, because we shut
them down pretty good the rest of the game," Huet said.

The Canadiens, who began the day one point behind Tampa Bay for
seventh place in the Eastern Conference, won their second in a row
and have claimed points in 11 of 12 games (8-1-3).

The Rangers, who lost 3-2 in a shootout Wednesday in Atlanta,
have dropped four in a row following a season-high, seven-game
winning streak.

"The last four games we've played, the other team has scored
the first goal, so they can play smart and we have to be really
patient," Lundqvist said. "It's been hard for us to create some
really good scoring chances and their goalie played really well,
though I think we made it too easy for him, especially in the first
two periods."

Huet extended his shutout streak to 131 minutes, 19 seconds just
three days after Montreal's acquisition of David Aebischer from
Colorado in the trade that sent 2001-02 NHL MVP Jose Theodore to
the Avalanche.

Geoffrion's death came exactly 69 years after Morenz's casket
was viewed by thousands of fans as it laid in state at the Montreal
Forum, three days after he died on March 8, 1937.

Marlene, married to Bernie for 54 years, flew from their home in
Atlanta along with their daughter, Linda, as the pre-planned
ceremony proceeded according to Geoffrion's wishes.

With the lights dimmed and spotlights in the shape of No. 5
moving throughout the crowd, the first big cheer of the ceremony
came when a clip was shown on the videoboard of Geoffrion at an
Oct. 15 press conference explaining his reaction to learning that
his number would be retired.

Game notes
Actor Will Ferrell attended the game, drawing a big cheer
when he was shown holding up a miniature No. 5 banner. ...
Lundqvist made 23 saves. ... Geoffrion, who won six Stanley Cups
with Montreal from 1950-64, came out of retirement with the Rangers
in 1966 and played his final two seasons in New York. His No. 5 was
painted on the ice behind both nets. ... It was the 10th
anniversary of the Canadiens' last game at the Montreal Forum. On
March 11, 1996, Montreal beat Dallas 4-1 before moving into its new
home five days later with a 4-2 win over the Rangers. ... Wearing
No. 30, Aebischer backed up Huet. The No. 1 he wore with Colorado
was retired by the Canadiens in honor of Jacques Plante.