MONTREAL -- In the last four years, the Rangers have had limited success at Bell Centre, which opened in 1996, but Brad Richards, who grew up on Prince Edward Island, said the building, with its 20,000 into-it fans and historic aura, wasn't "daunting."
Just the opposite.
"I love it," Richards said. "I have some great memories here, I played junior here, seen a lot of Canadiens teams growing up, always loved coming here. It's my favorite place to play by a mile. I love it no matter what night, it just gives you that feeling of hockey as soon as you step in the building."
In 36 games, with Tampa, Dallas and the Rangers, Richards was 9-13-22 in the arena.
Trade winds blowin'
As Wednesday's trade deadline approaches, Lightning scouts have been following the Rangers fairly consistently . . . Henrik Lundqvist had started nine straight, a season-high. With 14 games left and the playoff race tight, it is certainly possible that he will play in 12 of them . . . D Marc Staal, struck in the eye on March 5, missed his 12th game and isn't ready to return . . . Darroll Powe was a healthy scratch for the third straight game, Arron Asham took a seat for the first time in four games and D Matt Gilroy's streak on the bench reached nine.
Brandon Prust, who left the Rangers for a four-year, $10-million contract with the Canadiens in the offseason, returned after missing eight games with a separated left shoulder to play against his former mates. Prust started on a line with rookie Alex Galenchuk and Lars Eller.
Another former Ranger, 36-year-old center Jeff Halpern, who was claimed on waivers on March 23, began as a pivot on the fourth line between Travis Moen and Colby Armstrong. It was his third game for the Canadiens this season.