NEW YORK - Montreal goalie Peter Budaj ruined the New York Rangers' long-anticipated home opener, stopping 27 shots in the Canadiens' 2-0 win Monday night at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.
In two starts as Carey Price's backup, Budaj has allowed just one goal in 120 minutes this season. He benefitted from a Montreal defense that blocked 20 shots.
His counterpart, Henrik Lundqvist, was back in goal for New York after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. He made 25 saves.
New York went 0-for-5 on the power play.
The Rangers limped home with the NHL's most anemic offense. They scored just 15 goals while going 3-6 on the road as Madison Square Garden was getting renovated.
New York's nine-game odyssey to start the season was broken into two trips -- five games against teams in the Western Conference, followed by four against Eastern Conference foes. The Western part was particularly disappointing for coach Alain Vigneault's team: New York went 1-4 and yielded 25 goals.
Montreal grabbed the 1-0 advantage when center Tomas Plekanec scored on the power play late in the second period. With Rangers center Brian Boyle serving a roughing penalty, Plekanec poked a backhander while skating in front of Lundqvist's crease at 16:34.
The nifty goal was Plekanec's team-leading sixth of the season and tied him with Mike McPhee for 34th on Montreal's all-time list with 162 goals. Brian Gionta and Michael Bournival had the assists.
Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk added an insurance goal at 17:09 of the third period, sending a wrist shot past Lundqvist.
The Montreal defense thwarted several good New York goal-scoring opportunities in the scoreless first period, blocking 10 shots.
The Rangers' best chance of the second period came with 7:00 left. Derek Stepan received a pass from Chris Kreider behind the Montreal net and let go a wrist shot on the door step that Budaj flicked away with his glove.
NOTES: New York LW Rick Nash missed his seventh games with a head injury he sustained Oct. 8 at San Jose. ... Rangers RW Ryan Callahan is out until at least Nov. 6 with a broken left thumb. ... New York RW Derek Dorsett began the night second in the NHL in penalty minutes with 47. He trailed Tampa Bay D Radko Gudas (53). ... Through Sunday, Montreal's P.K Subban led all NHL defenseman with 11 points (two goals, nine assists). Subban had no points against the Rangers. ... Price earned his 150th career win Thursday.