NEW YORK -- Paul Byron committed the cardinal sin during pregame warmups on Tuesday night and did so against Carey Price, considered by some in Montreal to be the second coming -- of Patrick Roy, anyway -- and left the goaltender wincing in pain.
Byron redeemed himself by scoring the decisive goal in the shootout to give the Canadiens a 3-2 shootout victory over the New York Rangers and hand new coach Claude Julien his first victory in his second tour of duty as coach in Montreal.
Price was left hunched over during pregame warmups when Byron's shot hit him near a shoulder, leaving many to wonder if Price would be able to make his scheduled start. The accident left Price no worse for wear, as he made 28 saves, including a miraculous diving stop against J.T. Miller before overtime expired.
Did Price tell Byron before the shootout he needs to score the winner?
"He felt bad enough," Price said. "Nobody wants to hit their goalie. I'm really happy that he got his redemption."
Julien was hired to replace Michel Therrien during the team's bye week, but it didn't have the desired effect in a 3-1 home loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday after the break. It was Montreal's seventh loss in eight games and had something to do with a new coach not having much time to teach a new system.
But the two days between games appeared to give Julien enough time to teach and he liked what he saw Tuesday night, as the team won for just the second time in nine games to maintain its hold on first place in the Atlantic Division.
"I just had the one practice and one afternoon game, so it was hard for me to get a feel of it last game," Julien said. "I didn't think the team played even close to what it was capable of doing. Tonight was a better view of what we're capable of doing.
"It's a great feeling, but I think overall it's a great feeling for the whole team. We needed this win. It's been tough. Playing the way we did tonight encourages us to play that way moving on here."
Shea Weber assisted on Andrew Shaw's first-period goal that opened the scoring and put the Canadiens ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal early in the second period.
The Rangers drew even in each period on goals by Oscar Lindberg in the first and Rick Nash in the second, but the third period was a conservative 20 minutes from both teams.
"Carey is always good for us," said Alexander Radulov, who also scored in the shootout. "Even in that stretch when we were losing games, he was still good for us and giving us a chance to win. We kind of blew it and didn't get it done, but it's nice today to see the guys regroup and giving everything they got to get the win."
The Rangers had won seven of eight and are 7-1-1 in their past nine games with the fourth-most points in the conference but still find themselves in a wild-card spot. Henrik Lundqvist had another strong start with 26 saves but couldn't find the extra stop in the shootout.
"We played a good game," Lundqvist said. "There are a lot of good things to take with us from here for the next game. I am pretty disappointed right now, but I appreciate the effort here from everyone."
Miller said, "It was a hard-fought game from both teams. They made a couple good saves there at the end. It tilted in their favor, but for the most part we did some good things."
Teplicating that effort against the Rangers will be necessary to secure a divisional title.
"We just take things one game at a time," Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty said. "We like the way we played tonight. We like the fact that we have certain things to clean up, but the things we have to clean up aren't too mental. Overall, we really like our play."
-- Canadiens G Carey Price won his 258th career game, all with the Canadiens, to tie Ken Dryden for third on the team's all-time list. "That's cool," Price said. "I'm sure he did it in a little bit of shorter time." Price did it in 492 games; Dryden did it in 391 games.
-- The Canadiens scratched C David Desharnais, RW Sven Andrighetto and D Nikita Nesterov. Nesterov played Sunday against Winnipeg but was replaced by D Greg Pateryn on Tuesday.
-- The Rangers iced the same lineup for the second straight game.
-- The Rangers have just nine home games remaining. They will play 14 of their final 23 games away from MSG.