The Montreal Canadiens came up with arguably their best effort of the season to end a skid that included their most embarrassing loss.
Carey Price made 27 saves for his sixth shutout, Benoit Pouliot and Brian Gionta scored 1:40 apart in the second period, and the Canadiens snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night in Montreal.
Price bounced back from the worst outing of his career and posted his 10th NHL shutout. The 23-year-old Price, who has two shutouts in four starts, allowed a career-high eight goals and fought with fellow All-Star goalie Tim Thomas in an 8-6 loss at Boston on Wednesday night.
“I thought we played an excellent game,’’ Price said. “We played solid for the whole game. That was probably the best 60 minutes we’ve played.’’
Thomas and New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist are tied for the league lead with seven shutouts.
Pouliot scored for a second game in a row 10:12 into the second. Gionta made it 2-0 moments later with his team-leading 21st goal. David Desharnais, who assisted on Pouliot’s goal, scored during a third-period power play. Roman Hamrlik earned his second assist.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 36 shots in his second start in six games for Toronto, which dropped its second in a row. The Leafs’ shootout loss to New Jersey on Thursday followed a 4-1 run.
“You know we’re not going to go without losing until the end of the season,’’ Giguere said. “It’s disappointing, you want to at least be competing. I don’t think we did that, but we’ve got to move on and try to win the next game.’’
The Maple Leafs went 0 for 5 with the man advantage.
“We’ve just got to go back to the basics right now,’’ said forward Phil Kessel, whose goal-scoring drought reached 14 games.
Kessel, who was the last player selected in the All-Star game draft, has been held to five assists over that span.
Lightning 4, Hurricanes 3 — Marc-Andre Bergeron scored 1:32 into overtime, helping host Tampa Bay rebound after blowing a two-goal lead during the final minute of regulation and beat Carolina.
Bergeron’s goal from the right circle came off a pass from Sean Bergenheim. It was his first goal since joining the Lightning Feb. 5 from Norfolk (AHL).
Carolina had tied it, 3-3, on goals by Jeff Skinner with 51.1 seconds left and Erik Cole with 32.9 seconds remaining after goalie Cam Ward went to the Hurricanes’ bench for an extra skater.
Vincent Lecavalier scored his fourth goal in three games, and Dwayne Roloson made 31 saves as Tampa Bay won for the eighth time in 10 games.
Kings 4, Capitals 1 — Andrei Loktionov scored the tiebreaking goal at 3:36 of the third period as visiting Los Angeles beat punchless Washington to extend its point streak to a season-high eight games.
Because the NBA All-Star game and the Grammy Awards have taken over Staples Center, the Kings have been exiled to the road for a three-week stretch. Instead of grousing about it, they’ve been flourishing.
At the midpoint of a trip that has already taken them from Minnesota to Canada and then the East Coast, the Kings are 3-0-2.
Loktionov put Los Angeles up 2-1 by scoring off the rebound of a shot by Kyle Clifford. Michal Handzus gave the Kings a two-goal cushion with 7:32 remaining, and Jarret Stoll applied the clincher less than 1 1/2 minutes later.
Jonathan Bernier had 22 saves for the Kings, whose 6-0-2 run is their longest since a nine-game streak from Jan. 21-Feb. 6, 2010.
Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves for the Capitals, who play their next five games on the road.
Coyotes 3, Blackhawks 2 — Radim Vrbata scored in his third straight game and had the only goal in the shootout, lifting host Phoenix over Chicago.
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped Patrick Kane’s breakaway late in overtime and then Kane missed the net in the shootout.
“I closed my eyes and hoped he’s not going to score,’’ Bryzgalov said of stopping Kane on a 2-on-none with just over a minute left in overtime.
Predators 5, Avalanche 3 — Cody Franson scored with 2:30 left as Nashville beat visiting Colorado for its second straight victory and third in four games.
The Avalanche have lost seven straight — including two since Peter Forsberg rejoined the team — for their longest skid since the franchise relocated to Colorado in 1995-96.
Senators 5, Oilers 3 — Alex Kovalev had two goals and an assist for visiting Ottawa, which snapped an 11-game losing streak and avoided falling into the league’s basement by beating last-place Edmonton.
Canucks 4, Flames 2 — Mikael Samuelsson scored two goals 2:40 apart in the second period and Alex Burrows added his second into an empty net as host Vancouver beat Calgary.
Wild 3, Blues 1 — Cal Clutterbuck scored for the third time in two nights as host Minnesota beat St. Louis.
Clutterbuck, also the NHL leader in hits, leads the team with a career-high 17 goals.