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Super special teams

A pair of power play goals and a short-handed marker made all the difference in the Canadiens' big win over the Flames

by Matt Cudzinowski @canadiensmtl / canadiens.com

MONTREAL - When the power play is clicking and the penalty kill is chipping in offensively, too, chances are you're going to come out on the right side of the scoresheet.

That's exactly what transpired on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, as Michel Therrien's troops lit the lamp twice with the man advantage and once while down a man en route to a 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames.

Both power play goals came courtesy of Alexander Radulov - his 11th and 12th goals of the season - while the short-handed marker belonged to Tomas Plekanec. It was the veteran centerman's 20th career goal under those circumstances, which tied him with Bob Gainey for second spot in franchise history. It also happened to be the game-winner.

Video: Price, Radulov power Habs to 5-1 win

"I'm happy I was able to help the team win some games. Over the years, I spent a lot of time killing penalties. You get some opportunities offensively as well and you score some goals," said Plekanec, who is now seven short-handed goals back of franchise leader Guy Carbonneau. "[Reaching that mark] goes out to the whole penalty killing unit, being on the same page and doing the right things. That allowed me to do that."

Speaking of the penalty kill, it's been particularly effective in keeping the opposition from lighting the lamp as of late. In fact, up until Flames forward Sam Bennett spoiled Carey Price's shutout bid with 1.1 seconds remaining in regulation time on Tuesday night, the Canadiens had gone four straight games without surrendering a power play goal dating back to January 16 against the Detroit Red Wings.

That goal, though, and the fact that it denied Price his third shutout of the year, was a big topic of conversation in the locker room following the win.

"It felt good [to score two goals], but we really wanted to give this to Pricey. You can't stop playing at the end. I took a bad penalty and it cost us a goal," shared Radulov, who was sent to the penalty box for hooking at the 19:07 mark of the third period, which put the Canadiens on the defensive with time winding down on the clock. "He was there for us again. He deserved the shutout. It's tough, but we're going to work on those things and make sure that it never happens again."

Video: Alexander Radulov on the end of Tuesday night's game

The Canadiens' bench boss shared in Radulov's disappointment as Price stood tall between the pipes all night long during a 30-save performance that culminated in his 22nd win of the season.

"It was a nice team win, but the fact remains that at the end of the game you can't put yourself in a position to take a penalty like that," mentioned Therrien, who saw his charges successfully kill off a potentially dangerous 5-on-3 situation earlier in the evening to maintain a 3-0 advantage during the middle frame. "Those aren't good penalties, so that's the side of things that's really disappointing about this game."

Disappointing, yes, but Price himself wasn't about to let it spoil a victory that his club earned courtesy of strong special teams play at both ends of the rink.

"At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter that much. I've never been a really big statistics guy," said Price, on the subject of falling just short of blanking Glen Gulutzan's club on home turf. "We needed the win more than anything. That's the way it goes."

Video: Carey Price on the victory over Calgary

Now, Price and the Canadiens will hope to ride the momentum of this victory into Brooklyn on Thursday night in their final outing before the All-Star break. A convincing win against the Islanders would undoubtedly be the best way to finish things off ahead of three straight days of well-deserved rest.

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