NEW YORK (AP) – Steve Begin scored a short-handed goal 1:14 after Jaromir Jagr tied it for New York in the third period, and the Montreal Canadiens got four third-period goals to beat the New York Rangers 4-1 Monday night and earn a split in the home-and-home series.

The Canadiens, who lost 5-2 Saturday in Montreal, have won six straight in New York – including both meetings this season.

Saku Koivu gave Montreal a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 47 seconds into the third period to break up a goaltending duel between the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and Canadiens counterpart Jose Theodore, who made 23 saves.

But Jagr answered at 9:40 with his NHL-best 12th goal, scored while the Rangers were on a 5-on-3 power play. Jagr extended his point streak to 10 games, notching 10 goals and five assists in the run.

While the Canadiens were still killing off Theodore’s delay-of-game penalty, Niklas Sundstrom sent Begin and Andrei Markov off on a 2-on-1 break. Begin held the puck as Marek Malik tried to disrupt the play and then rifled a high shot that beat Lundqvist’s glove to make it 2-1 with 9:06 left.

Jagr got the Rangers even when he ripped a slap shot from between the circles as Begin dived in front of him in an attempt to block the drive.

Two-time Rangers player Alex Kovalev made it 3-1 with 3:46 left by scoring his fourth of the season, assisted by Koivu. Sundstrom sealed it with an empty-net goal with 36.4 seconds remaining.

Koivu made it 1-0 when he deflected Craig Rivet’s slap shot, fired from just inside the blue line. It got past Lundqvist, who was just under a minute away from helping the Rangers kill off Darius Kasparaitis’ double minor for high-sticking.

Rivet heard boos all night from the Madison Square Garden crowd because of his hit Saturday in Montreal that left Rangers forward Martin Rucinsky with a sprained knee ligament that could keep him off the ice for a month.

Theodore, pulled after the first period Saturday after allowing three Rangers goals on 13 shots in the first period, was sharp throughout in the rematch.

He was busy in the first period of this one, too. He turned aside nine New York shots, but his workload decreased the rest of the way as the Rangers found themselves constantly short-handed – including 8:44 of the second period.

New York was down two men for the first 57 seconds of Kasparaitis’ penalty, and Lundqvist kept the game scoreless by fighting through screens to stop Montreal shots and grab several that struck him in the chest.

Lundqvist, who finished with 27 saves, was stellar until his rough third period. He entered his fourth straight start and eighth in nine games with the second best goals-against average in the NHL. But he is still considered Kevin Weekes’ backup by coach Tom Renney.

The Rangers were trying for their second three-game winning streak of the season after failing to notch one in 2003-04. But instead fell to 4-1-2 at home.

Montreal has enjoyed great road success, earning 11 of a possible 12 points away from home.

Notes: Montreal (8-3-1) won eight October games for the fifth time in team history and first since 1991. … The Canadiens outshot New York 40-29 in Saturday’s loss. … Rangers D Tom Poti sat out because of the flu, drawing cheers from the home crowd that has booed his play throughout the season. … The teams will meet once more this season, March 11 in Montreal.

AP-ES-10-31-05 2153EST


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.