The New York Rangers, plagued by inconsistency in their playoff drive, capitalized on giveaways for two goals Monday and sent the Montreal Canadiens to a fifth straight loss.
Michel Petit scored in the second period and Don Maloney added an insurance goal in the third period at 8:06 to give the host Rangers a 3-1 victory.
The Rangers have had trouble building momentum in their quest for a playoff spot. They started 1988 with three straight victories, then suffered an 0-6-1 skid. Following a three-game winning streak, they have won just three of seven games.
They are still in last place in the Patrick Division, but moved within three points of fifth-place New Jersey and five points of Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot in the division. Montreal, which has 11 goals in the last 5 games, remained 3 points behind first-place Boston in the Adams Division.