Fed up with their lack of offense, a questionable goal and a three-game losing streak, the Rangers took out their frustrations on Montreal in the second period tonight, erasing a 2-0 lead with three goals and going toe to toe with the Canadiens in a resounding 6-2 win.

                 Ryan Callahan (four points) and Brandon Dubinsky each scored twice, with one of Dubinsky’s shorthanded, and Marian Gaborik and Chris Drury scored in the third as the Rangers scored more goals than they had in the last five games combined ----and didn’t back down.

              Among the 50 minutes in penalties in the second---the Rangers had 28--- were rousing fights that included Sean Avery and Wade Redden, as well as physical responses from Aaron Voros, Enver Lisin and Brian Boyle.

           “It shows a lot of character on (Redden’s) part, a willingness to compete, a willingness to win to stick up for his teammates,” said Dubinsky. “Same thing with A.V. and Sean, you even saw Lis get in there, who’s not an overly aggressive person.

We knew we were on a bit of a slide. If desperation is what guys felt, maybe that’s the right word, we understood the importance of it.”

                Even Henrik Lundqvist, who had exploded over Brian Gionta’s late first-period, shoulder-high backhanded swipe of a rebound that was deemed a goal, put his glove in the face of Michael Cammalieri during a scrum in his crease after the Rangers tied the score at 2.

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              “He’s been scoring on me too much,” Lundqvist said with a grin. “I had to get back at him.”

            After Dubinsky, who had replaced Erik Christensen on the No. 1 line, cashed in a cross-crease feed from Vinny Prospal for his second goal of the second period at 11:04 for a 3-2 lead, things tuned ugly. Voros retaliated after a hit from Andrei Markov and was challenged by Travis Moen and Josh Gorges. Avery, who was called for boarding and interference in the first, waded in and exchanged blows with Gorges, bringing the Garden crowd to its feet. Less than a minute later, Benoit Pouliot flattened Christensen at the boards with an elbow to the head and Redden challenged the bigger Pouliot at 15:02

           “You never know what triggers it. It’s not mapped out, you never know how the emotion, when it’s gonna show, but the important thing is how you respond,” said coach John Tortorella. “Sometimes this year I don’t think we responded correctly in those types of situation. Tonight, I think we did.”

              Down 2-0 after 20 minutes, Callahan’s first goal halved the lead 57 seconds into the second period on a tap-in from the crease after Gaborik scooped up the puck on the left boards and fired a shot off Jaroslav Halak’s pads. It was Gaborik’s first point in four games and the Rangers’ first goal at home in 147:02.            “That’s what energy is,” said Avery. “We were banging right off the bat, that’s how you open up your offense.”

              During a Canadiens 4 on-3, Callahan sped down on a breakaway and Halak got his left pad on the shot, but Dubinsky, following hard, banged in the rebound at 8:28 for the Rangers fifth shorthander of the season and Dubinsky’s second of the season while down a man. The Rangers outshot the Canadiens 15-2 in the period.

             “We were trying to finish our checks all over the place and that led to a couple big fights by Sean and Wade and I think we fed off that in the second period,” said Drury. “We felt good after the first, felt like there was a lot of energy in the building. We had a feeling we could come back.”


           Stats, more comments on all this tomorrah....Means nothing unless they win Tuesday. And there should be a rollicking rematch Saturday in old Montreal, eh?



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