MONTREAL (CP) – Dominic Moore had a dream debut for the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
Moore, 23, took the advice of coach Glen Sather to relax and have fun and picked up three assists as the Rangers swamped the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.
“Mr. Sather said there’s only one rule – have fun,” said Moore, a Thornhill, Ont. native who joined New York this season after four years at Harvard University.
“That’s what I tried to do, enjoy it and take it all in. It’s a game and that’s how it should be.
“Growing up watching the Montreal Canadiens on Hockey Night In Canada and then seeing the place where it all happens was a thrill,” he added. “Just putting on the Rangers’ jersey was an honour. It was a good experience.”
Moore assisted on a goal by Jamie Lundmark that broke a 1-1 tie at 18:05 of the second period.
After Martin Rucinsky made it 3-1 at 3:27 of the third frame, Moore assisted on power play goals by Chris Simon and Dan LaCouture.
Anson Carter also scored for New York (4-3-2-0), which won a second game in a row. A key was holding Montreal to 1-for-8 on the power play.
“We’re getting frustrated because we can’t score and then guys start cheating,” said defenceman Stephane Quintal. “There’s no reason why we can’t score on the power play.
“They’re a team that wasn’t performing well on the power play but they got the puck on net and went for the rebounds. That’s what we’ve got to do – get our noses dirty and go to the net.”
Rangers captain Mark Messier, who sits two points behind Gordie Howe for second place in all-time NHL scoring, did not get a point. Howe has 1,850 points. The all-time leader is Wayne Gretzky with 2,857.
Messier was impressed with Moore, who was called up from Hartford of the AHL on Friday.
“He had an excellent training camp and showed he’s ready to play during the exhibition season,” said Messier. “He got an opportunity tonight and took advantage of it.
“He’s not 18, he’s 23, and he looks ready to play.”
Yanic Perreault scored for Montreal (6-6-0-0), which has lost four of its last five games.
Perreault’s goal during a two-man advantage at 6:14 of the second period opened the scoring. His pass from behind the net went in off defenceman Vladimir Malakhov’s skate.
It was the first goal in regulation time by a Montreal forward in 12 periods.
Carter tied the game at 9:45 on a one-timer from the high slot.
Lundmark was in almost the same position when his blast beat a shaky Jose Theodore to put the Rangers in front.
“I got caught off-guard,” said Theodore, who has three shutouts this season, but has also given up five or more goals four times.
“It seems that when we get down a goal we change our style,” Theodore added. “It’s like that every time we lose.
“We go out of our system, become undisciplined and that’s when the other team scores goals.”
Boris Mironov put a fake on Andrei Markov and fed Rucinsky at the side of the net for a goal 3:27 into the third.
Simon banged one in from the slot on a power play at 11:58 and LaCouture pushed one in from the edge of the crease at 12:38.
The Rangers’ power play, which had produced only one goal in eight previous games, went 2-for-6.
A crowd of 19,979 saw Montreal outshoot New York 35-27, but the Canadiens continue to fire blanks, scoring only twice in their last four games.
Montreal right winger Jason Ward left the game in the second period after taking a Malakhov point shot on the left ankle from close range. His condition is to be evaluated by Monday, a team spokesman said.
Rucinsky had his No. 26 Rangers’ jersey torn on a hook from Craig Rivet in the first period. After a quick trip to the dressing room, he emerged wearing No. 41 with no name of the back. He had his regular jersey back for the second frame.
Notes – The Rangers decided to keep defenceman Brian Leetch out for a ninth game with his left ankle injury. . . Eric Lindros skated Saturday morning but remains sidelined with a chest injury. Winger Pascal Rheaume (knee) is also out. . . Montreal captain Saku Koivu (sprained right knee) saw a doctor on Friday and decided he was not yet ready to play. Koivu has not played this season.