Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers makes a...

Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers makes a save against the Montreal Canadiens. (March 18, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

With the Rangers' 6-3 defeat of the visiting Canadiens Friday night, Henrik Lundqvist became the only goalie in NHL history to win at least 30 games in each of his first six seasons.

But the Swede wasn't celebrating much. For more than an hour after the Rangers secured their third consecutive win and moved to within five points of sixth-place Montreal in the Eastern Conference playoff race with 10 games to play, Lundqvist was receiving treatment in the trainer's room at Madison Square Garden.

Although coach John Tortorella said "he's OK," Lundqvist said his sore neck might prevent him from playing Sunday against the Penguins. X-rays were negative, but his neck was sore after he was plowed into the net by Benoit Pouliot at 16:21 of the third period. Lundqvist, who had made several key saves in the third (22 overall) in his 16th consecutive start, was down on the ice for a few minutes with a trainer there, but he stayed in the game.

"I didn't really see what happened," he said. "I looked at the puck and then . . . I've got a pretty sore neck right now. But I was clear [headed] the whole time, so that's good. I'm going to be a little stiff tomorrow, but I'll be OK."

"It wasn't intentional," Tortorella said. "It was just a hockey play. We try to take care of [the crease], we try to get to the blue, and when there's contact, I think it's part of the game."

It was the darkest moment in a strong effort by the Rangers, who have won three straight and five of six. Their five-goal first period -- a team high for any period in four years -- derailed the Canadiens, who had beaten them in five straight games dating to last season.

Three of the goals came in a 1:07 burst that broke open a 2-1 game and chased Vezina Trophy candidate Carey Price, who has carried the Canadiens all season. Ryan Callahan was credited with the first goal of the trio, which initially was waved off. Callahan's shot hit the helmet of James Wisniewski, popped in the air, fell behind Price and trickled across the line at 17:09. A video review overturned the no-goal call. Marian Gaborik then scored his fourth goal in four games at 17:41 and Brian Boyle scored his 21st at 18:16.

"We're starting to build confidence," Callahan said. "We've struggled at home and this time of year, you need to win here."

The Rangers are 38-30-4 (80 points), five points behind sixth-place Montreal (39-26-7) and four ahead of Buffalo and Carolina, which are tied for eighth.

The Rangers, who had but three goals and zero wins in three games against Montreal this season, came out fighting. Brandon Prust dropped the gloves with Travis Moen one second after the opening faceoff and scrums continued for the first two periods. Twelve penalties were called, six for each side. Said Vinny Prospal, "That sent a message."

Notes & quotes: The last time the Rangers scored at least five goals in a period was March 17, 2007, vs. Boston . . . Sean Avery, for the second time in three games, and Matt Gilroy, for the second straigh gamet, were healthy scratches.

More Rangers