Carey Price turned aside all 27 shots he faced for his sixth shutout of the season as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0 in front of a boisterous home crowd on Saturday.
The win at the Bell Center snapped a three-game losing streak for Montreal and lifted the Canadiens to within one point of the Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins.
“It’s fun, but winning’s more important,” Price told reporters of the shutout. “That’s all it is to me, it’s just another stat. I’ve said it before, the only real stat that’s important to me is the ‘W’ column.”
The Canadiens held the Maple Leafs scoreless on five power-play opportunities, while David Desharnais converted one of Montreal’s six extra man-advantages to put his team 3-0 ahead in the third period.
Benoit Pouliot opened the scoring midway through the second period, converting a pass from Desharnais, while Brian Gionta scored on an almost identical play 1 minute, 40 seconds later to give Montreal a 2-0 lead.
“I don’t remember how I got there, but I remember Davey [Desharnais] giving me the puck,” Pouliot said. “For some reason I was all alone. When it gets teed up like that, you can’t miss.”
Toronto had been playing well recently collecting nine points in their past six games, but were easily outplayed and outshot 39-27 by Montreal.
The only downside to the victory for the Canadiens was winger Max Pacioretty leaving the game after being squeezed against the boards by Toronto defenseman Luke Schenn with an injury to his wrist or arm.
Kings 4, Capitals 1
In Washington, the Los Angeles Kings used a three-goal third period to beat the punchless Washington Capitals.
Backup goalie Jonathan Bernier had 22 saves for the Kings after allowing Alex Ovechkin’s 21st goal of the season on the first shot of the game.
Anze Kopitar equalized in the second. Then Andrei Loktionov put in a rebound, Michal Handzus gave the Kings a two-goal cushion with 7 minutes, 32 seconds remaining and Jarret Stoll applied the clincher less than one-and-half minutes later.
Canucks 4, Flames 2
In Vancouver, Mikael Samuelsson scored two goals in three second period minutes to help the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 4-2.
Tim Jackman and Curtis Glencross scored early in the second period to put the Flames ahead. However, Samuelsson tied it with a perfect shot through Ryan Kesler’s screen at 10 minutes, 40 seconds and put Vancouver ahead with a power-play strike through Daniel Sedin’s screen less than three minutes later.
Mason Raymond added two assists as the Canucks bounced back from a 4-3 loss to Anaheim on Wednesday — just their third in regulation in more than two months. Roberto Luongo finished with 24 saves to remain unbeaten in regulation since Dec. 5 (16-0-5).
Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves for the Flames, who were coming off an overtime loss to Anaheim on Friday night.
Senators 5, Oilers 3
In Edmonton, Canada, Alex Kovalev had two goals and an assist for Ottawa, which ended an 11-game losing streak and avoided falling into the NHL basement by beating last-place Edmonton.
Milan Michalek, Bobby Butler and Peter Regin also scored for the Senators, who moved four points ahead of Edmonton. Brian Elliott needed to stop only 15 shots to earn the win.
Dustin Penner had a pair of goals, while Andrew Cogliano netted the other for the Oilers, who have won only two of 13 games. Nikolai Khabibulin made 20 saves, but his personal losing streak was extended to 14 games.