MONTREAL – Despite moments earlier this season when he felt he needed a new approach, Carey Price stuck with what he was doing.
Now, he’s reaping the rewards. Price stopped all six Carolina attempts in the shootout, Maxim Lapierre scored the winner and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Hurricanes 3-2 Tuesday night.
After stopping a team-record 53 shots in a 2-0 loss in Nashville on Saturday, Price made 30 saves on 32 shots Tuesday and dazzled in overtime and the shootout to get his second win in three starts.
“When I was going through a hard streak I didn’t know what to do,” Price said of a month-long period where he lost six straight starts. “When you’re going through a tough patch it’s really tough, especially when you’re putting in the work and you don’t know what’s wrong. I had a feeling like I had to change something but I didn’t, I just stuck to it.”
Price was particularly sharp in overtime as Carolina enjoyed a power play for the final 1:59, stopping four shots during the man advantage, including a game-saver on Erik Cole with about 20 seconds left.
“It’s tough to (kill) a 4-on-3 because there’s so much ice out there, but our guys did a good job,” Price said. “They kept everything to the outside, basically. We got a couple of big blocks there where I wouldn’t have seen the puck go in if it hadn’t been blocked.”
Andrei Kostitsyn tied the game with just over two minutes to play in regulation and Max Pacioretty also scored for the Canadiens (10-11-0), who are 8-0 this season in games that go past regulation.
Tomas Plekanec widened the gap for the team scoring lead with two assists.
“I try to talk to him a lot, and all I’m doing is staying positive and keeping him confident,” Plekanec said of his linemate Kostitsyn. “That’s all he needs. When you’re trying to yell at him he sometimes doesn’t take it that well. But when you tell him he’s doing a good job, he’s pretty good.”
Brandon Sutter and Jussi Jokinen scored for Carolina (3-12-5), which is already missing starting goaltender Cam Ward and saw backup Michael Leighton leave the game with a lower body injury midway through the second period.
Leighton made 10 saves on 11 shots, and Manny Legace stopped 23 of 24 shots he faced in relief.
“I thought (Legace) did a real good job,” Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. “He got a bad break on the tying goal, but he came into a tough spot and faced some pucks right away and he did the job.”
Lapierre was the 11th shooter of the shootout and he beat Legace with a deke to the forehand before putting a wrist shot just inside the post.
“That’s my only move,” Lapierre joked.
Matt Cullen was Carolina’s sixth and last hope for its second straight shootout win, but Price got his skate on a shot that settled on the goal line before the Canadiens netminder swatted it away in celebration.
“I think it hit the last part of the steel on my skate,” Price said. “It hit me right in the toenail.”
The Canadiens offensive struggles continued as they have now scored only eight goals in their last six games.
That allowed the Hurricanes to post one of their best defensive efforts of the season, giving up fewer than three goals for the first time in 13 games.
“Where we are we’re not throwing any points back, that’s for sure,” Maurice said. “But our team’s actually battled pretty hard. They’ve competed and we haven’t had a lot of easy things happen to us.”
Montreal got on the board in the first period by capitalizing on a poor Carolina line change, with Plekanec finding Pacioretty alone in the slot for his second of the year at 5:41.
Carolina drew even at 3:28 of the second when Sutter caught Montreal defenceman Josh Gorges flat-footed to skate by him to the net, where he tipped home a Ray Whitney feed for his fifth of the year.
A Jaroslav Spacek turnover at the red-line to Cullen allowed the Carolina centre to enter the Canadiens zone and find Jokinen for a one-timer from the right circle at 6:20 of the second to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead.
Leighton left the game at 7:12 of the second after stretching out to make a nice glove save on a Spacek point shot, sending recent AHL-signing Legace into the net, who was rarely tested until Kostitsyn tied it late in the third.
Kostitsyn took a shot from the right side that bounced off the side of the net, but he picked up his own rebound and banked one in off Legace from behind the net at 17:14 of the third to tie the game 2-2.
Notes: The Hurricanes fell to 0-7-4 this season when allowing the game’s first goalaBoth the Canadiens and Hurricanes are riddled with injuries. The Habs were without D Andrei Markov (ankle), D Ryan O’Byrne (knee), D Hal Gill (foot) and wingers Brian Gionta (lower body), Matt D’Agostini (concussion) and Georges Laraque (back). Carolina was missing Ward (leg), C Eric Staal (upper body), D Joni Pitkanen (lower body) and winger Scott Walker (upper body)aD Aaron Ward returned to the Hurricanes lineup after missing a game with a lower body injuryaWith the contest sandwiched between Monday’s and Wednesday’s games of the Quebec portion of the Canada-Russia Super Series, there were 21 scouts representing 15 teams on handa