Habs hit the road to battle Rangers

( - The Montreal Canadiens try to build off a perfect homestand on Thursday night as they hit the road for a game to take on the New York Rangers.

The Canadiens bested the visiting New York Islanders and Nashville Predators before the All-Star break, then capped the perfect three-game stay at home on Tuesday with a 3-2 decision over the Dallas Stars.

Carey Price made 40 saves to key the win, while Alex Galchenyuk scored for a third game in a row. Brendan Gallagher and Alexei Emelin added goals for the third-place Canadiens, who are one point back of Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division and two behind first-place Detroit.

Emelin did not get to celebrate the victory on the ice, however, as he was ejected at 5:21 of the second period for a boarding major and game misconduct call following a hit from behind on Dallas center Jason Spezza.

"Carey was solid for us again. We still scored three goals, which is a good sign, but you could tell it was the first game after a five-day break," admitted head coach Michel Therrien on Montreal's website. "Our execution wasn't there. At times, our concentration wasn't there, either."

Montreal will begin a four-game residency following this road contest and will likely turn back to Price, who is 9-5-1 lifetime versus the Rangers with a 1.99 goals against average, .937 save percentage and five shutouts.

The Rangers may prefer to deal with Price tonight instead of the New York Islanders, who beat their cross-town rivals for the third time in as many meetings with Tuesday's 4-1 decision in Uniondale.

The Isles have outscored the Rangers 13-4 in the three games and nearly shut out the Blueshirts on Tuesday before Carl Hagelin scored with 8.1 seconds to play.

Henrik Lundqvist came up with 34 saves in the loss, which halted the Rangers' three-game win streak and leaves them fourth in the Metropolitan Division, one point back of Washington and four back of second-place Pittsburgh.

"We haven't played well against this team (the Islanders), and it starts with our will to compete, a will to want to make plays and have confidence," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. "We're just trying to catch these guys in the standings. They're playing real well and they're pulling ahead here, so we've got to find a way to consistently put a string of games together against the teams that are ahead of us and in our division."

The Rangers play the first of four in a row at home tonight and Lundqvist is 14-12-2 in his career versus the Canadiens with a 2.75 goals against average and .900 save percentage.

The Rangers and Canadiens have split the first two of three meetings this season, with each club picking up a victory at home.

New York topped Montreal 5-0 on Nov. 23 at Madison Square Garden, with Lundqvist posting 21 saves and five different Rangers lighting the lamp.

The Blueshirts have won four of their past six at home in this series, but the Habs have claimed 13 of the previous 18 encounters overall.