MONTREAL – Carey Price was hot last week, but he was on fire against the high-scoring Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Price made 41 saves for his second shutout in four games and his third of the season as the Montreal Canadiens posted a fourth straight victory, downing the Flyers 3-0 in a battle of NHL division leaders.
“I’m just looking forward to the next shot,” said the low-key Price, who has let in only three of 140 shots in the last four games. “And you can’t let the last one bother you, whether it was a good save or a bad goal.
“It’s satisfying. The team is playing well and it’s nice to see the breaks going our way.”
Brian Gionta, who also had two assists, Michael Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec scored for the Northeast-leading Canadiens (12-5-1), who fired 28 shots at Sergei Bobrovsky. Gionta has four goals in his last five games after notching only one in his first 13.
Price was named the NHL’s first star of last week after three wins that included a 34-save shutout against Vancouver. He made more than a dozen difficult stops against a Philadelphia team that had scored 18 times in its previous three games.
“We know if we make a mistake he’ll help us out by making that big save and then we just have to look after the little things in front of the net,” defenceman Jaroslav Spacek said of Price.
Frustration was evident among the Flyers, as there were several skirmishes after Darroll Powe slammed Jeff Halpern’s head into the glass with a bodycheck only 27 seconds into the third period. Halpern was helped off the ice and did not return. No penalty was called on the play.
Coach Jacques Martin said his checking centre’s condition was being evaluated.
“It was a hit from behind, but the ref didn’t see it like that,” said Martin.
Misconducts were handed to the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell and Sean O’Donnell and Montreal’s Maxim Lapierre late in the game, while Canadiens rookie P.K. Subban was in the midst of most of the melees.
Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia (12-5-2), coming off a 5-1 win Monday night over Ottawa, ended a three-game winning streak and a string of 10 games without a regulation-time loss.
The Flyers shot from every angle and a few times players were in close and had both a shot and a rebound only to be thwarted by Price.
Their 41 shots was the most in a game in which the Flyers were shut out since Clint Malarchuk of the Washington Capitals made 42 saves in 1-0 win in Philadelphia on Jan. 26, 1989.
“We had a lot of quality chances in the first two periods and we couldn’t find a goal,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. “Their goalie played pretty well and the frustration showed in the third period.
“We didn’t play the same way.”
The same clubs meet again Monday night in Philadelphia.
There were big saves early from both goalies, including two against Cammalleri by Bobrovsky from the edge of the crease in the seventh minute.
Cammalleri finally scored during a two-man advantage at 9:36 after he was left alone in the slot for a one-time shot on a feed from Gionta.
Montreal had just killed off a two-man Philadelphia advantage when Plekanec, apparently waiting for a trailing winger to catch up to his rush, fooled Bobrovsky with a no-look wrist shot that caught the inside of the far post 13:48 into the second frame.
Gionta banked a pass in off Kimmo Timonen’s skate 6:24 into the third, giving the suddenly productive Montreal power play eight goals in 21 chances over the last five games.
Plekanec’s two points gave him 10 in the last five, while Gionta’s three gave him eight points in that span.
Notes: The Canadiens confirmed that defenceman Andrei Markov will be out long term with a right knee injury. That put Alexandre Picard back in the lineup. Dustin Boyd was scratched. . . Philadelphia winger Jeff Carter played his 400th career game. . . The Flyers were without tough winger Dan Carcillo who injured a knee Monday inOttawa and is expected to miss two weeks. Oskars Bartulis didn’t dress.