MONTREAL (AP) — Alexis Lafreniere snapped a third-period tie with a power-play goal in his first NHL game back home, and the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Saturday night for their first victory under new coach Gerard Gallant.
Lafreniere, the top pick in the 2020 draft, grew up about an hour from Montreal in Saint-Eustache, Quebec. He scored for the Rangers (1-1-1) just 26 seconds after Jonathan Drouin pulled Montreal (0-3) even.
New York broke the ice in the second period on its fourth power-play opportunity. Lafreniere’s shot deflected off Chris Kreider, then Alexander Romanov, before sliding across the goal line. Kreider was credited with the goal, his third of the season.
Christian Dvorak circled around the back of the net and found Drouin, who beat New York goalie Igor Shesterkin to make it 1-all at 9:24 of the third.
Lafreniere responded quickly with his first goal of the season. With the Bell Centre crowd still buzzing over Drouin’s goal, Lafreniere beat goaltender Jake Allen to put New York back ahead.
Lafreniere’s hometown is just north of Montreal and he was playing at the Bell Centre for the first time in his career.
Kevin Rooney rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal for New York.
Shesterkin was solid in goal, stopping 31 shots. Allen made 21 saves.
The Canadiens once again failed to convert on the power play. They’re a dismal 0-for-11 this season.
Rangers: At Toronto on Monday night.
Canadiens: Host San Jose on Tuesday night.