The Rangers' Jacob Trouba celebrates with teammates Brady Skjei, Chris Kreider and...

The Rangers' Jacob Trouba celebrates with teammates Brady Skjei, Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin after scoring against the Canadiens in the third period on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Montreal.  Credit: The Canadian Press via AP/Graham Hughes

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Rangers on Thursday return to Montreal, the scene of one of their biggest wins of the season.

It was Nov. 23, and the Rangers came back from a 4-0 second-period deficit to beat the Canadiens, 6-5.

Considering the state of the Rangers today — playing well and making a bid for a playoff spot — it’s no wonder the phrase “turning point” was thrown around a bunch after Wednesday’s optional practice.

“It was definitely a turning point in the season,” said Brendan Lemieux, whose shorthanded goal tied the game at 5. “We were on the borderline of playing some good hockey and we were starting to show some resilience and then we were able to stay in a game we maybe shouldn’t have. It was a come-from-behind win and it was just a turning point for our group where we realized that no matter the score we’re still in the game and we have the skill and ability to play with, sort of, the best teams in the league.”

Coach David Quinn had just dressed down the team for a 4-1 loss at Ottawa the night before when the Rangers fell behind against Montreal. But Quinn said Wednesday the Montreal game just didn’t have the same bad feel.

“I think we were down 3-0 going to the second period, but played well,” Quinn said. “Just the feeling in the locker room — just felt different. I think guys believed that even throughout that first period that we continued to play well. And then to get down 4-0 and you think all the walls are going to cave in . . . It never felt that way on the bench. I think that was really what we all allude to when we talked about the turning point. Not only the fact that we won the game, but the internal belief in each other. You can’t have success if you don’t have that. We have it.”

And that is what the Rangers were hoping they had built with their roster. But they weren’t sure until Nov. 23 happened.

“I think what happened in that game was a belief in each other,” Quinn said. “I’ve touched on this quite a bit on how we have so many new faces and there was so much uncertainty throughout our roster of what was going to take place this season . . . I think as the season was starting to evolve, I think there became belief in each other. Guys would sit in the locker room [and say], ‘He’s pretty good.’ Or, ‘He’s better than I thought he was going to be.’ And I think there became some internal belief inside the locker room, and that’s where you really get a team concept.”

Notes & quotes: Pavel Buchnevich returned to the ice for the first time since getting injured along with goalie Igor Shesterkin in a car accident in Brooklyn on Sunday. Buchnevich will make the road trip. “The fact that he’s out there moving around is a good sign,” Quinn said. “I think the shock of what happened is starting to wear off.” . . .  Alexandar Georgiev will start in goal on Thursday. Quinn did not say if Georgiev or backup Henrik Lundqvist will start on Friday in Philadelphia. “It’s game-to-game,” Quinn said. “Especially with this many games in a short period of time.”

More Rangers