Fleury Hits Mark, Rangers Win

Theo Fleury's day ended much better than it began.

Fleury became the 60th NHL player to score 400 regular-season goals, extending his goal-scoring streak to four games, as the New York Rangers went on to a 5-2 victory Saturday night over the Montreal Canadiens.

"I was a little bit under the weather, but it was a great effort by our team tonight," Fleury said. "I got a flu shot last year and the same thing happened, it just kind of hits you a few days after the fact. Hopefully it's just that 24-hour thing."

Whatever was wrong with him, Fleury didn't waste any time reaching the milestone as he fired a shot over Jose Theodore's right shoulder into the top corner of the net just 3:28 in. It was his 11th goal of the season, and sixth during the streak.

"Thirteen years ago I began my career basically here in Montreal by winning the Cup, so it's kind of fitting that 400 came here," Fleury said.

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  • Fleury, who scored just 15 times last season his first with the Rangers immediately removed his right glove and picked up the puck, which came directly back to him as it rebounded off the net's mesh.

    After joking to reporters that he wondered if he would have to wait until 2010 to reach 400 goals in the midst of his frustration last year, Fleury offered a simple explanation for his goal scoring success so far this season.

    "Instead of the puck hitting the post and going out, it's hitting the post and going in," Fleury said. "That's the only way I can explain it."

    The Rangers (6-7-0-0), who lost 6-5 in Ottawa on Thursday, also got goals from Adam Graves, Michael York, Mark Messier and Petr Nedved for their third win in four games. The Rangers have scored at least five goals in four straight games.

    "We felt, in the room, that we had played pretty well the last few games and it was disappointing that we didn't get at least a point out of Ottawa," Messier said. "We felt that we needed to come in here and keep the pace up that we had played the last few games. We did that, we were skating well early and got some opportunities, and capitalized on them."

    It was the Rangers' first win in Montreal since Dec. 16, 1996. They had been 0-3-3 in their previous six visits and 3-22-9 since 1983-84.

    Mike Richter, who missed the first five games of the season while recovering from knee surgery, turned aside 35 shots for his third win in five starts.

    Montreal lost its fifth straight to fall to 4-8-2-0. The Canadiens are winless in six games.

    "We're in a period where everything is difficult," Montreal coach Alain Vigneault said. "And it's playing on our confidence because that's something that comes with success."

    Graves and York also scored in the first as all three Rangers goals in the period came with the teams at even strength.

    The Canadiens outshot New York 11-6 in the second period, missing out on a great scoring chance midway when Sergei Zholtok's shot from the slot struck the post to Richter's right.

    Messier scored his seventh - the 634th of his career - on the power play 16:39 later in the period to put the Rangers up 4-0.

    Nedved beat Theodore at 1:28 of the third for his third of the season before Trevor Linden ruined Richter's shutout bid with his fourth goal at 6:51.

    Jim Campbell scored his first of the season with 12 seconds left in the game.

    Notes

  • Fleury, who signed with New York as a free agent on July 8, 1999, scored 364 goals with Calgary from 1988-99 and 10 goals in 15 games for Colorado after he was traded to the Avalanche on Feb. 28, 1999.
  • Nineteen members of the 400-goal club played for the Rangers.
  • Montreal's Enrico Ciccone and Dale Purinton of the Rangers fought twice in the first period.
  • The Canadiens have scored just 10 goals in their last five games, including four in a loss Friday night at Buffalo.


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