MONTREAL -- This was all too predictable.
The losing streak at Bell Centre reached eight for the Rangers, who fell behind early, exhibited a lot of try, but lost to the Canadiens, 3-0, last night.
In those eight losses, starting on Oct. 24, 2009, the Rangers have been outscored 30-7.
Goaltender Carey Price clearly has the Rangers' number: zero. Price, who had shut out the Rangers in his previous three starts against them at Bell Centre, stopped all 34 shots. It was the fifth time the Rangers have been blanked this season.
When the locker-room door opened afterward, it was a rare sight. All of the Rangers were at their lockers, available for questions. Generally some are in the trainers' room for treatment; others prefer not to face the music.
But after Saturday night's loss, a second consecutive shutout, coach John Tortorella laid down the edict. Stick around.
"You just don't hang around when you're winning," he said. "I think some guys have been in there. They're basically the voice of the team. Everybody needs to be in there. This is part of learning, this is how you get better as a team, is handling those type of situations, too, answering the questions, and we just got to stay together as a team. No one's happy about it. Everybody's frustrated."
That frustration spilled over to former Ranger Sean Avery, who is retired but spent much of his Rangers career in Tortorella's doghouse. Avery tweeted: "Fire this CLOWN, his players hate him and won't play for his BS." A Rangers spokesman declined to comment.
The Rangers finished 1-3 on the road trip, and they still have not won in five games in Canada this season. They haven't even scored in the last two games there. They haven't found the net in 127:47, since the third period Tuesday against the Flyers.
With 14 games to play and the trade deadline Wednesday, it hardly would be shocking if changes were made. The question is, what exactly do the Rangers have to offer?
Mats Zuccarello returned Saturday night and played 18:16, with one shot, two attempts blocked, six hits but no points. He played 48 seconds on the point on the Rangers' only power play. "He added some creativity," Tortorella said. "I liked the way we moved the puck. Zuke added something. You could see it right away as far as his skill."
Said Zuccarello, "At this stage of the season, you can't say just that we played a good game and had a lot of chances, you have to bury [them]. To win hockey games, you have to score goals."
Playing superbly, Price stopped all 17 shots in the first period. The Rangers carried the play for much of the session but the Canadiens left the ice ahead 2-0 despite being outshot 17-10.
On a misplay by goalie Martin Biron, Michael Ryder cruised off the left wall, Steve Eminger was late to react and Ryder put the Canadiens ahead 1-0 only 47 seconds into the game. Three minutes later, J.T. Miller hit the post after Brian Boyle created a turnover with a hit.
Late in the first period, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik couldn't corral a loose puck on the wall and Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban sped in on Dan Girardi. Plekanec took a pass from Subban and beat Biron far side at 18:11 to make it 2-0. Brendan Gallagher scored a power-play goal in the second period to make it 3-0.