On Saturday, he matched accomplishments achieved by each of the three Hall of Fame goalies, making Montreal's first goal against the San Jose Sharks in more than three years stand up for a milestone win and shutout.
Price became the third Montreal goalie to reach 40 wins in a season, joining Plante, who accomplished the feat three times, and Dryden, who achieved it twice. The Canadiens single-season record is 42, shared by Plante (twice) and Dryden.
"Once again, Carey was Carey; it's as simple as that," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "He made key saves, particularly at the end, as everyone saw. Carey was Carey."
It was Price's 34th career shutout, tying him with Durnan for fourth place in Canadiens history.
Price said as a kid he never could have imagined his name alongside those of the three Montreal greats.
"I never really would have pictured myself in this situation, but you know what, I've been blessed immensely and I've been helped a lot to get where I'm at, and I've got a lot of people to thank," Price said.
Price, who made 31 saves Thursday in a 4-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes, has a career-high nine shutouts this season. He is tied with Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the NHL lead.
"We just keep trying to work on our game and round it out," Price said. "We want to finish the season on a good note and make sure that we're firing on all cylinders going into the playoffs."
Montreal (46-20-7), which has won three in a row, has 99 points to lead the Eastern Conference.
"I don't know what else we can say about [Price]. Obviously he's the best, and thanks to him, we are where we are," Plekanec said.
Price leads the League in wins, goals-against-average (1.86) and save percentage (.938).
"I wouldn't be here without these guys; that's just the cold, hard facts," Price said. There's no other way to sugarcoat it; that's just the way it is."
"He saved it with his knob," Couture said. "It kind of flipped up at the last second. I got it up over his pad, and somehow he got the knob of his stick over there and saved it."
Sharks defenseman Brent Burns hit the crossbar with 1:50 remaining.
"They play a pretty tight style themselves," Price said. "They hang in there with those really talented California teams, and you've got to give that team credit, they played a pretty good road game."
Canadiens left wing Alex Galchenyuk got his 100th career point with an assist on Plekanec's goal at 18:46 of the first period. It was Plekanec's 22nd of the season.
Gallagher scored his 21st goal with 13.1 seconds remaining.
Niemi made 27 saves in his eighth straight start for San Jose (35-29-8), which has lost three of four.
"We played well," Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. "Like he's done maybe 40 times this year, [Price] saved the game; he was the difference."
San Jose is six points behind the Calgary Flames for third place in the Pacific Division and trails the Winnipeg Jets by eight for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
"We competed hard against a first-place club and pushed them hard in their home building," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "But the moral victories don't put points in the bank, and that's what we need right now."
Montreal has been outshot 48-13 in the third period in its past three games, including 11-4 on Saturday.
"It felt like we had more than enough chances, it felt like we had more than 29 shots," Sharks center Joe Pavelski said. "It was one of those nights where the 29 shots we had were ones that we can score on. That's how it felt. I don't know what it looked like, but [Price] made some good saves."
Montreal's 4-0 loss at San Jose on March 2 was the third time in a row the Canadiens were shut out by the Sharks, including two shutouts by Niemi in 2013-14.
Plekanec's goal ended the Sharks' shutout streak against the Canadiens at 215 minutes. The Montreal center scored into a wide-open net on Galchenyuk's backhand pass from the right side that deflected off Vlasic's skate and San Jose defenseman Justin Braun's stick.
"That lucky goal made the difference," Vlasic said.
Montreal had not scored against the Sharks since Dec. 1, 2011, when Erik Cole scored at 8:46 of the third period in a 4-3 shootout loss in San Jose.
The Canadiens had lost four in a row to the Sharks since a 3-1 win at Bell Centre on Dec. 4, 2010.
"I appreciated everyone's effort," Therrien said. "The guys worked really hard, they played with a lot of determination, so it was a good team win.
The Canadiens played the third period with five defensemen. Tom Gilbert did not return after he was struck in the face by the puck on a shot by Vlasic with six seconds left in the second. Therrien had no update on Gilbert.
"Every game, they put on their work boots and they block shots with their face, if need be," Price said. "I can't say enough about those guys."