MONTREAL - -- After their 3-0 loss to the undefeated Canadiens Thursday night, some Rangers believed Carey Price, who posted his seventh career shutout against them, was the difference-maker.
Not coach Alain Vigneault, who tore into his team after its second straight loss.
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"We got schooled tonight," he said. "I think we created five chances five-on-five; our only moment was that five-on-three in the second period when he had a couple saves to make. They outplayed us in every area of the game defensively. Offensively, they must have had 12, 13 outnumbered situations. If it wasn't for our goaltender, the score would have been a lot worse."
Henrik Lundqvist, who made 29 saves -- many of which made the shooters look skyward in disbelief -- in the Canadiens' home opener at Bell Centre, kept the score 1-0 until 17:55 of the third period, when former Ranger Dale Weise scored. Tomas Plekanec sealed it with an empty- netter. Price made 25 saves.
Including their 4-1 loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday night, the Rangers (3-2) have scored only one goal in six periods. They had 12 in the first three games.
"We didn't do enough to make his life tough on [Price]," captain Ryan McDonagh said. "You could really see their speed was a big element. They had so many chances. We backed off too many times. They had a lot of looks [on Lundqvist]. He was doing everything he possibly could."
Chris Kreider and Rick Nash, two of the Blueshirts' top-six forwards, are goal-less in five games, and Nash, who scored 42 goals last season, was unhappy. "I think there was more we could have done," he said. "A lot of our shots were from the outside and we didn't get any traffic. I definitely think there's frustration. I think it's important to simplify right now."
The frustration carried over to Lundqvist, whose lament sounded like a song played in previous seasons when the offense vanished. "You just have to focus on your job. You can't control how the team is playing," he said. "The only thing you can do is give the team a chance to win. I've kinda lost count how many times we've been shut out in this building. It's a combination of the way they play as a team, but Price is a big part of that. For some reason, he likes to play us. "
Eight of the last nine games between the teams have been shutouts. Three of the previous six ended 1-0.
Tomas Fleischmann snapped a scoreless tie at 8:46 of the second period. After Jesper Fast failed to clear the zone, Fleischmann got an edge on McDonagh to Lundqvist's right and slammed a shot off the goalie and in.
The best opportunity for the Rangers came during a five-on-three for 1:42, with Andrei Markov off and Alexei Emelin flipping the puck over the glass for a delay-of-game infraction. But Derek Stepan, posted in the lower left circle, couldn't capitalize on two shots, as one hit the side of the net and Price knocked the second away. Price's best save came when he slid right-to-left and lunged to stop Nash's shot.
Lundqvist made another pretty glove save on Alex Galchenyuk's open power-play blast with 24 seconds in the period to prevent a two-goal deficit.
The Rangers played the Canadiens even in the first, although six minor penalties put a damper on any consistent offense.
The Canadiens started finding holes in the second period, springing players for odd-man rushes. And Lundqvist couldn't stop them all.