RALEIGH, N.C. -- Like most goaltenders, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price likes to see a lot of shots. For the final the 40 minutes Wednesday night, he got his wish.
Price stopped 26 shots over the final two periods, then stoned the Carolina Hurricanes in the shootout to lift the Canadiens to a 4-3 win at the RBC Center.
Brian Gionta scored the shootout winner against Cam Ward, after Michael Cammalleri and Max Pacioretty were stopped. Price held off Chad LaRose, Jeff Skinner and Jussi Jokinen to earn the two points. On LaRose's bid, the Montreal netminder needed a bit of good fortune.
"I got a little bit lucky," said Price, who claimed his ninth win of the season. "It hit the knob of my stick. I was pretty pumped for that fortunate little bounce, but I will take it."
Price looked a little shaky in the first period, allowing two goals on five shots. But once the Hurricanes began buzzing the net, he raised his game.
"You definitely get a feel for it," Price said. "When you get a lot of shots, it kind of feels like practice. You get a feel for the puck, you feel loose, and you're tracking the puck well when you're feeling it a lot."
The Canadiens battled back from two second period deficits in the third period. After giving up just seven goals in their previous nine games, the Habs had to play more wide open and trade chances with the Hurricanes.
"We've been playing very well defensively," said Montreal coach Jacques Martin. "Sometimes when you get behind, you open things up. We were fortunate to win the game."
The Hurricanes needed just 34 seconds to put the first goal on the scoreboard. Jiri Tlusty launched a wrister from the blue line that crossed up Price and trickled over the goal line.
"I just tried to steer it to the corner and I steered it to the post," Price explained. "It looked to me like it rolled right along the goal line. I saw their guy charging the net, so I tried to lay out and I think I knocked it in with my stick."
Anthony Stewart gave Carolina a 2-0 lead thanks to some hard work from his linemates. Brandon Sutter dug a puck off the top of the net and sent it to Tim Brent, who found Stewart with a backhand pass in the slot.
"You get yourself behind, and you've got to claw out of it," said Gionta. "We started to get a little better in the second, and we played a little better in the third."
The Canadiens' first opportunity to get back in the game came when Carolina's Tuomo Ruutu took a double minor for high sticking with 20 seconds left in the first period. But the Habs managed just one shot on goal before the man advantage was cut short by a Pacioretty penalty.
Montreal finally broke through while killing a penalty on P.K. Subban. The Canadiens kept the Hurricanes hemmed in their own zone by winning several puck battles. A big blast by Raphael Diaz changed direction in front of Ward and trickled behind the goaltender, where Lars Eller tapped it in with 10:54 to go in the period.
"It was huge to get to 2-1 instead of Carolina going up 3-0," said Eller, who recorded a goal and an assist. "I saw (Diaz) was going to shoot, and I went to the net. Sometimes you get those loose pucks, sometimes you don't. Today it was right on my stick."
The goal clearly reversed the flow of the game.
"I think that was huge," said Carolina coach Paul Maurice. "I think that was the changer of the game. We were on the ice too long and too soft when it happened and I think the way it happened had a big impact on the game."
"We've got to learn to make these types of games 3-0 or 4-0," said Stewart. "There was almost a sense of panic when that first one went in, and that's going back to a month ago when nothing was going well."
The Hurricanes began the third period with a 2-1 lead, but the teams quickly traded goals.
The Canadiens tied the game 2-2 early in the second period when Cammalleri redirected a shot by Josh Gorges. Sutter then gave Carolina a 3-2 lead less than two minutes later on a feed from Patrick Dwyer.
Montreal's Travis Moen tied the game again at 4:37 of the third period when he deflected Yannick Weber's wrister from the point. For Moen, it was his seventh goal of the season on just his 25th shot.
Each team had a prime scoring chance in overtime. Eric Staal hit a post for Carolina, while Erik Cole set up Gionta in front of the Carolina net.