MONTREAL, QUEBEC – The Carolina Hurricanes have made quite a run lately, but it came to an abrupt stop in losing 3-0 to the Montreal Canadiens at Centre Bell on Tuesday.
The Hurricanes’ recent four-game win streak came to an end as Canadiens goaltender Carey Price turned away 36 shots and held on for the shutout win after Montreal took an early 2-0 lead in the first period with goals from Brandon Prust and Brendan Gallagher.
Carolina was unable to stage another dramatic comeback as it did against the Habs during the two teams’ first meeting of the season back on New Year’s Eve in Raleigh when the Hurricanes stole the game with a 5-4 overtime win.
With Montreal coming into the game on a four-game losing streak, Carolina couldn’t afford to provide the home team with the momentum it needed to get ahead early.
Unfortunately, that is what happened.
“Givin’ up the first one was tough,” Carolina captain Eric Staal said.
“We knew that they were a team that was strugglin’ as of late. We didn’t want to give them any life, but we get a chance goin’ the other way and Pricey makes a save and it goes back the other way and they get a goal out of it and kind of, I think, relaxes them.”
Montreal’s Max Pacioretty added the game’s eventual final goal of the game early in the second period that put Carolina behind three goals, but with ample time to come back as they had done the night before in a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
However, playing their fifth game in seven days may have caught up to them as they couldn’t get the puck past Price nor the team in front of him, as the Canadiens were credited with blocking 27 additional shot attempts throughout the game.
“You never want to lose, but I’m pretty happy with our effort,” Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said.
“We had a good run – five in seven nights is quite a push. I thought we emptied the tank – we pushed as hard as we could. I thought if we got that one goal, we would have been able to push them back into a little bit of a panic mode, but Carey was Carey and played a strong game and didn’t give us that chance to get a little momentum goin’.”