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New Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber scores two in win over Rangers

Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber says he really missed that winning feeling.

Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber says he really missed that winning feeling.

In his second game back from injury, Weber scored his first two goals of the season as the Canadiens snapped their five-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the visiting New York Rangers on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old defenceman missed 73 games following surgeries on his right knee and left foot. He had an assist in a losing effort in his first game back on Thursday.

"The biggest thing is winning," said Weber, who gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead after one period. "If you help out by scoring goals, or stopping goals, whichever way it is, it's coming in here after getting two points that I definitely miss the most."

Weber's first goal of the game — his first since Dec. 5, 2017 — was typical of the hard-shooting blue-liner.

Just 3:53 into the contest, Weber fired a one-timer from the blue line into the net before Rangers backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev could even react.

"The guys on the bench were all so happy when he scored his first goal," said Canadiens head coach Claude Julien. "He's earned that respect form his teammates, from us, just by the way he handles himself. Everyone is extremely happy for him tonight. Second game, scores a couple of goals, sets the tone and has a real solid outing."

Weber’s second goal was a bit out of the ordinary for the captain.

With time winding down in the first period, Tomas Tatar battled hard along the boards to keep possession of the puck. The Montreal winger was then tripped entering New York's zone before making a backhand pass to a streaking Weber while lying on the ice.

Weber, on a partial breakaway, beat Georgiev glove side, top shelf, to give the Canadiens a two-goal lead with eight seconds left on the clock.

"That was a crusher," said Rangers coach David Quinn. "To give that goal up in the fashion that we did really was a tough pill to swallow and tough to overcome. You know we're not in a great mindset right now, and to come in the second period down 2-0 playing the way we did the last seven or eight minutes and give up a goal of that fashion really set us back."

The Canadiens (12-9-5), who outshot New York 41-22, have won four straight games against the Rangers (13-12-2) at the Bell Centre.

Montreal went up 3-0 when Artturi Lehkonen beat Georgiev with a wrist shot on a 2-on-1 at 2:04 of the second period. The Rangers goalie smashed his stick against the post in anger after the goal.

"It was just pretty crushing when they scored the third goal," said Georgiev, who made 36 saves on 41 shots. "I could have saved at least one of them. Just showing emotion. It was not the best of me."

Lehkonen made it 4-0 at 5:29, a quick release on Georgiev's blocker side after an awful giveaway by Neal Pionk behind his own net.

With the teams playing 4-on-4, the Rangers got one back thanks to Jimmy Vesey's wrist shot at 8:10 of the second.

Ryan Strome, on the power play, made it 4-2 with 5:49 remaining in the middle frame.

Tatar, with his 11th of the season, restored Montreal's three-goal lead with a power-play marker at 10:28 of the third as the Rangers dropped to 1-4-0 in their last five.

Carey Price stopped 20 shots for Montreal's first home win since Nov. 10.

Both teams were playing the first game of a back-to-back weekend. Montreal hosts the San Jose Sharks on Sunday while the Rangers take on the Winnipeg Jets in New York.

NOTES: Speedy forward Paul Byron was back in the lineup for Montreal after missing 14 games with a lower-body injury. … The Canadiens placed former first-round draft pick Nikita Scherbak on waivers earlier on Saturday.

Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press