MONTREAL — The Rangers played with five defensemen for almost half the first period Saturday after Brendan Smith was pounded by Brendan Gallagher into the end boards on a Canadiens power play and stayed down, in pain.
In what was quickly a five-on-three, Alex Galchen yuk scored from near the right post for a 2-0 lead at 11:09.
Smith went to the bench, appearing to favor one arm, and sat on the end of the pine until the first intermission before returning early in the second period.
Jimmy Vesey was clamped to the bench after the first period; he played just five shifts the rest of the night . . . After a three-assist night against the Coyotes, Boo Nieves played just 9:20 . . . Kevin Hayes had just two shots; J.T. Miller had none . . . Brady Skjei and Chris Kreider were each credited with six hits.
Winter Classic mystery
Filming for the annual behind-the-scenes documentary “Road to the Winter Classic” with the Rangers and Sabres begins filming Dec. 7. But the production will reportedly not be handled by EPIX as was the case last year. Speculation is that the series might be seen via Hulu or Netflix. The game is at Citi Field on Jan. 1 and televised by NBC.
10,000 saves, counting
Ondrej Pavelec is now well past the 10,000-save mark, which he hit Thursday against Arizona. He joins two other Czech-born players in that tier: Dominik Hasek and Tomas Vokoun. He made 16 saves in the first period alone Saturday night, and as he skated off, Kevin Shattenkirk and Skjei stick-tapped his pads for encouragement.