Hurricanes shut out in Montreal
The surging Carolina Hurricanes brought out the best in the struggling Montreal Canadiens.
Carey Price stopped 36 shots for his third shutout of the season and the Canadiens beat the Hurricanes 3-0 to snap a season-high four game losing streak.
Brandon Prust, Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty scored the goals for Montreal.
"The team was engaged," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien after the team's first win in nearly two weeks. "It was a nice team win. A lot of guys had great games."
Carolina had won four in a row coming in and 10 of their last 13. The strong play had helped the Hurricanes jump four places in the Metropolitan Division in January, good for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, were coming off a 5-0 rout against Washington last Saturday, and had been outscored 19-5 during their skid. Montreal had also allowed at least four goals in each of their last six games.
However, the Canadiens kept the Hurricanes off the scoreboard thanks to two first-period goals, 27 blocked shots and a goaltender at his best.
"As a group we knew what we needed to do," Price said. "There's no question that we talked about it enough, and it was time to do it.
"We played with a lot of confidence tonight. ... It came down to us just willing to win."
After a big save by Price on Nathan Gerbe at one end of the rink, Prust scored what turned out to be the winner on a fast break the other way at 6:11 of the first period.
Rene Bourque, who had only one assist coming in, started the tic-tac-toe play when he found Josh Gorges in the clear to Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin's right. Gorges, who finished the game with a team-high seven blocked shots, quickly passed the puck to Prust, who beat the Hurricanes' goalie with a wrist shot under the blocker for his fifth of the season.
"My goals are usually when crashing the net, going off my leg or something," Prust said. "This was a good one to get."
The Canadiens doubled their lead late in the period when Gallagher persistently poked home his own rebound, getting the better of the Hurricanes in a six-player melee in front of Khudobin's net.
Pacioretty added an easy tap-in at 1:41 of the second for his 22nd of the year to make it 3-0.
Therrien praised his team, but also the way they approached the recent bad form.
"It's really important how you face adversity," he said. "We decided to stay positive with our players. It's all about attitude. When you have the right attitude, it's always helpful."
The game was Carolina's second in two nights, and fifth in seven days. The Hurricanes beat Columbus 3-2 on Monday, scoring three third-period goals to rally for the win.
"We seemed to be out of gas a little bit," said Eric Staal, who was frustrated on three occasions by Price. "You never want to use that excuse, but we have played a lot of hockey here.
"If we were really feeling good and jumping, we would have had a better attack. But when we did get chances, Price was real good and made a lot of key saves."
Khudobin finished with 27 saves for the Hurricanes.
Montreal has now won six of its last seven at home against Carolina.
NOTES: Hurricanes forwards Alexander Semin and Staal both had their six-game points streaks snapped. ... Before the game, the Canadiens assigned F Louis Leblanc to Hamilton of the AHL. Leblanc has yet to register a point in eight NHL games with the Canadiens this season. ... Carolina G Cam Ward has now missed 13 games with a lower-body injury. ... Former Montreal F Aaron Palushaj, who played 41 career games with the Canadiens from 2010-12, was in the starting lineup for Carolina. ... The Hurricanes and Canadiens meet again on Feb. 8 in Raleigh, N.C., for the third and final time this year.