Carey Price had the latest sold-out Bell Centre crowd squarely behind him as he led the Montreal Canadiens back to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Price made 38 saves for his second shutout, and Bryan Smolinski and Saku Koivu scored first-period goals as Montreal beat New Jersey, 4-0, last night and moved ahead of the Devils into first place in the East.
Maxim Lapierre scored in the second period to put the Canadiens ahead, 3-0, and Michael Ryder tallied with 2:21 remaining in the third to bring an abrupt end to New Jersey's three-game winning streak.
The final minute of the game was played throughout a sustained ovation, punctuated by a load roar from the customary crowd of 21,273 at the final siren.
"I wish they could have cheered for everybody like that. Everybody deserved an ovation like that tonight," said Price. The 20-year-old rookie improved to 5-2 in seven starts since taking over the No. 1 job when Cristobal Huet was sent to Washington at the trade deadline.
Price turned aside 20 shots in the first period and 13 in the second as the Canadiens built a lead despite being outshot, 33-18, through two.
Montreal, which won the season series against New Jersey, 3-1, leads the Northeast Division with 87 points. The Devils are atop the Atlantic Division with 86 points, one ahead of idle Pittsburgh.
Maple Leafs 4, Flyers 3 - Pavel Kubina's second goal of the game, 4:04 into overtime, gave host Toronto a come-from-behind win over Philadelphia.
Mats Sundin, Kubina, and Jeremy Williams scored third-period goals for the Maple Leafs, who are 7 points behind the Flyers for the final playoff spot in the East heading into tonight's rematch at
Oilers 4, Blues 3 - Andrew Cogliano scored in overtime for an NHL-record third consecutive game, and Edmonton recovered on home ice after blowing a 3-0 first-period lead to St. Louis.
Sharks 2, Predators 1 - San Jose set a franchise record with its 10th straight win, getting goals from Joe Pavelski and Milan Michalek and 26 saves from Evgeni Nabokov in Nashville.
Avalanche 5, Thrashers 2 - At Atlanta, Andrew Brunette scored twice and Colorado got a goal and two assists each from Joe Sakic and David Jones as the Avalanche moved into a tie with idle Calgary for first place in the Northwest Division.
Red Wings 3, Blackhawks 1 - Pavel Datsyuk scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and host Detroit won its fourth in a row.
Lightning 8, Islanders 4 - Tampa Bay rolled past visiting New York as Vincent Lecavalier had a hat trick and Michel Ouellet added two scores.