MONTREAL - Carey Price made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season as the Montreal Canadiens beat the visiting Winnipeg Jets 3-0 on Tuesday night.
Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec scored for Montreal (11-4-1), which has won three games in a row.
Ondrej Pavelec made 24 saves in defeat for Winnipeg (8-6-2).
Eller scored the opener and game-winner for Montreal at 2:21 of the second period. The third-line centreman was at the right place at the right time after newcomer Jiri Sekac drove hard to the net. Pavelec stick-checked the puck right to Eller, who made no mistake on the backhand facing a gaping net.
It was just the fifth time the Habs scored first this season. The team is 5-0-0 when it does.
Montreal is now 7-1-0 versus the Jets in the teams' last eight meetings. Meanwhile, the loss snapped Winnipeg's eight-game unbeaten run in regulation time.
The sell-out crowd at the Bell Centre was convinced the Canadiens had taken the lead in the game's first minute when Brendan Gallagher put the puck past Pavelec. The linesman, however, judged the speedy forward had crossed the blue-line before the puck, and the goal was waved off.
The Jets couldn't capitalize on a two-man breakaway shortly thereafter, with Evander Kane opting to shoot on Price rather than passing the puck off to Blake Wheeler.
Montreal doubled its lead at 7:47 of the final frame when Galchenyuk put home a pretty no-look shot from the slot. After a Tom Gilbert shot from the point hit traffic in front of the net, Galchenyuk found the loose puck and slipped it past Pavelec, who got a piece of it with his stick.
The Jets pulled Pavelec with three minutes remaining in the game. Plekanec scored his sixth of the season in the empty net.
Montreal's NHL third-worst power play ??? the Habs are converting less than eight per cent of their man advantages ??? couldn't solve Winnipeg's penalty kill, going 0-for-3 in the game.
Paul Maurice's men couldn't catch a break, as four of their shots rang off the post, including Mark Scheifele's snap shot late in the first period after a giveaway by P.K. Subban in the neutral zone, and another with 90 seconds remaining in the game.
Earlier in the day, Montreal traded left-winger Travis Moen to the Dallas Stars for defenceman Sergei Gonchar. The 40-year-old blue-liner, now in his 20th NHL season, has one point in three games this year.
"Obviously, when you look at Montreal, they're a good team with good players," said Gonchar on a conference call. "They have good puck possession and skate well. It's one of the most recognizable franchises in hockey, so it was a no-brainer.
"I think I can help the team. A few guys in the league played well in their forties. It's a big number, but I feel like I can play."
Notes: Drayson Bowman made his Montreal Canadiens debut. The 25-year-old played 5:19. ??? Subban dressed for his 300th career game. ??? The Jets couldn't find the back of the net for the third time this season. ??? Montreal is undefeated when leading after two periods (5-0-0). ??? Winnipeg continues its five-game road swing with a stop in North Carolina next.