Bell Centre, Montreal
Brian Gionta (MTL) — 1 goal, 2 assists
Tomas Plekanec (MTL) — 1 goal, 1 assist
Carey Price (MTL) — 41 saves, shut out, 11th win
Carey Price is making those around the Montreal Canadiens forget, one win at a time, about the off-season deal that sent playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues.
The Habs netminder stopped all 41 shots for his third shutout of the season while captain Brian Gionta scored one goal and assisted on the other two as the Canadiens extended their winning streak to four games, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 on Tuesday at the Bell Centre.
Price shone throughout the contest, stopping 33 shots in the opening two periods and eight in the final frame, earning his 11th win of the season.
"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."
On a day that began with less than positive news — the Canadiens' public acknowledgement that superstar defenceman Andrei Markov would be lost to injury long-term — the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge knocked off the hottest team in the league, outhustling the Flyers, forcing them into penalty trouble and capitalizing on their opportunities.
Tomas Plekanec continued his strong play, scoring a goal and adding a helper as the Canadiens blanked a team that scored 18 goals in its previous three games.
Philadelphia rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky lost for only the fourth time this season, allowing three goals on 28 shots.
In the opening two minutes, Maxim Lapierre took a slashing penalty when he chopped Scott Hartnell in front of Price. But the Canadiens were aggressive on the penalty kill, limiting the Flyers to one shot.
Montreal got some help in the following minutes as the Flyers had considerable troubles with discipline.
Matt Carle went off for slashing at 8:16. The defenceman hacked Andrei Kostitsyn while the Habs forward was skating through the neutral zone. During the penalty kill, Chris Pronger flipped a clearing attempt over the glass, giving the Canadiens a two-man advantage.
On the 5-on-3, Gionta found a waiting Mike Cammalleri out front, and he wasted no time, rocketing a one-timer past Bobrovsky for the 1-0 lead.
Still on the power play, Montreal ramped up the pressure with a strong forecheck, pushing the Flyers deep into their own end and peppering Bobrovsky with several shots, but couldn't solve the rookie for a second time in two shifts.
Montreal was outshot by Philadelphia 13-11 in the first period.
The Flyers got a two-man advantage of their own after Hal Gill and P.K. Subban took penalties 90 seconds apart. But Price continued his outstanding play, stopping all attempts from the attacking Flyers.
"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.
Montreal gained momentum from the kill as Plekanec beat Bobrovsky from a bad angle. The Habs forward fired a shot from the corner that pinballed off the goaltender's pads and found the back of the net.
The Markov-less Canadiens were sharp with the man advantage, scoring two times on six power-play attempts.
Tempers began to flare to open the final period after Jeff Halpern was sent hard into the boards by Darroll Powe. In the same shift, Hartnell collided with Gionta in the neutral zone, drawing a chorus of boos from the Bell Centre crowd.
Moments later, Lapierre chased down Powe, dropping the gloves in defence of his teammate. But the scrappy Habs forward played the role of a punching bag, taking several shots to the head before the linesmen stepped in to break up the fight.
The Canadiens extended the lead to three midway through the third. After a borderline goaltender interference penalty called against James van Riemsdyk, Gionta chipped a puck from the corner that deflected off Kimmo Timonen's skate and between Bobrovsky's legs.
After a slow start to the season — one goal in the first 13 contests — Montreal's captain has scored in three straight games.