MONTREAL – Carey Price has the Montreal Canadiens seemingly back on track.
Price stopped 26 shots to lead Montreal past the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Saturday afternoon, the first time the Canadiens have posted consecutive wins in eight games.
Tomas Plekanec, Mathieu Darche and Mike Cammalleri had the goals for Montreal as Price registered his NHL-high 16th victory.
“We wanted to try to get on a bit of a roll and it’s something that’s been up and down, win one, lose one so getting two in a row is nice,”said Price.
Benn Ferriero scored for San Jose.
Montreal opened the scoring six minutes into the first on its first shot on goal. Darche picked up his own rebound from a missed shot off the backboards and beat Antti Niemi, who couldn’t get over in time.
The Sharks tied it at 13:04. Price came out to play the puck, turned it over along the boards and was beat by Ferriero from the top of the circle.
Price was solid early on and tested often as San Jose outshot Montreal 16-4 through the first half of the game. The Sharks outshot the Canadiens 27-19 overall.
“We knew coming in they were a very good defensive team probably with the best goaltender in the league right now, you have to score more than one,”said Sharks coach Todd McLellan.“Thought some of our guys that we count on, our key players offensively didn’t have their legs and didn’t skate and as a result weren’t as effective offensively as we needed them to be.”
Price specifically seemed to have the number of Dany Heatley as the Sharks’ sniper had game-high five shots on goal.
“We got to score some goals, he (Price) made some good saves on us but the bottom line is you need to score goals to win games,”said Heatley.“We had a lot of shots, some were quality, some were from the outside, but if you let Carey see any shots he’ll stop them. He had a lot of easy saves.”
It was also a homecoming for San Jose’s Marc-Edouard Vlasic, a Montreal native. He was quietly one of the Sharks’ best players registering a plus-1 rating over 23 minutes 53 seconds of ice time.
“Very excited to play here, I felt comfortable, thought my game went well,”said Vlasic.“Skated with the puck, joined the rush but just couldn’t get anything done with the way they play in the neutral zone.”
Montreal regained the lead at 13:58 of the second. Plekanec scored on a nice individual effort, getting into the slot and firing a shot over Niemi’s left pad.
Yannick Weber picked up a point on the play and now has points in both games he’s played in since P.K Subban has been a healthy scratch.
“For sure it’s good to get points, it give you confidence,”said Weber.“That’s not what it’s all about though.”
Montreal head coach Jacques Martin made adjustments mid-game breaking up Scott Gomez and Cammalleri. Gomez skated with Maxim Lapierre and Tom Pyatt while Cammalleri was teamed up with Jeff Halpern and Travis Moen.
“I don’t know if it was a message, I think it was just one of those games where there wasn’t much space out there, wasn’t much happening and it was a really grinding game,”said Martin.“It just gave a different outlook at times.”
Cammalleri cemented the victory by picking up a rebound from a Roman Hamrlik breakaway and flipping it over Niemi.
The two teams hadn’t met since March 4 when the Sharks won 3-2.
“We are trying to get back to that consistency we had early on, the last couple weeks have been up and down but it was a good effort out there today,”said Montreal captain Brian Gionta.
Montreal’s next game is Tuesday at home against the Ottawa Senators. San Jose continues their road trip with stops in Detroit, Philadelphia and Buffalo before returning home on Saturday.
NOTES—Subban was a healthy scratch for a second straight game. He had played in all 25 games for Montreal before the benching…Dustin Boyd was the other healthy scratch…For San Jose Niclas Wallin and Kent Huskins didn’t play. DevinSetoguchi and Jason Demers were out with injuries.