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Lang grabs hat-trick to power Canadiens past Rangers 6-3

ROBERT Lang grabbed a hat-trick in an explosive third period to power the Montreal Canadiens to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

After Andrei Markov broke a 2-2 tie early in the final period, Lang unleashed three straight goals to give the Canadiens a fifth win in six contests but their first on New York's home ice in their last five attempts.

"Our power play has been hit or miss, mostly miss, lately," Lang told reporters after Montreal converted two power plays in the third. "But we were able to get a couple tonight."

Montreal moves to 23-10-6 and Lang now has 16 goals for the season with four in his last two games.

The Rangers (24-15-3) fell into a tie with the Philadelphia Flyers for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak tied a season-high with 36 saves in his third straight start in place of Carey Price, who was again ruled out through injury.

Henrik Lundqvist, who was coming off his first shutout of the season in New York's 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, surrendered five scores in just 24 shots.

The Rangers were able to stay close in what was a give and take game before the third period. Chris Drury tied things for New York with a goal at 17:22 in the first, following up Alexei Kovalev's opening score.

Guillaume Latendresse put Montreal up 2-1 before Ryan Callan answered with his 12th goal of the season at 9:25 into the second.

Michal Rozsival pulled the Rangers to within 4-3 in the third after back-to-back power play goals by Markov and Lang, who added two more scores to put the game away.

"When you pick up the paper tomorrow and look at the score, it's going to be hard to believe," said Rangers captain Drury. "I thought we did a lot of good things. I thought we played a really solid game in a lot of areas."

In Edmonton, Alberta, Steve Bernier scored twice in 12 seconds and added one assist to lead Vancouver 4-2 over Edmonton in Mats Sundin's debut with the Canucks.

Alex Burrows and Pavol Demitra also scored for Vancouver, and Jason LaBarbera stopped 23 shots.

Sundin, playing in his first NHL game in nine months, was on the ice for about 14 minutes. The 37-year-old former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs skated primarily between wingers Kyle Wellwood and Mason Raymond and was booed every time he touched the puck.

Robert Nilsson and Erik Cole scored for Edmonton.


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