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Price, Pacioretty repeat; Canadiens shut out Capitals

by Sean Farrell /

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien says his best players have to play their best. Once again Saturday, they did.

Max Pacioretty scored with 1:52 left in overtime to give Montreal a 1-0 win against the Washington Capitals at Bell Centre. Carey Price made 36 saves in his second straight shutout.

It was Price's fourth of the season and 29th of his NHL career, tying Patrick Roy for fifth in Canadiens history. Roy, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006, played 551 games for Montreal from 1985-95; Price played his 408th game Saturday.

"I've played a lot of games," Price said. "I've played with a lot of good teams and I've been fortunate enough to do what I do, and I'm honored to be a part of that."

The 27-year-old extended his shutout streak to 153:03, including a 1-0 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Price has allowed more than two goals once in his past 16 games. He is 13-2-1 during that span with a 1.43 goals-against-average and .953 save percentage.

"One of our best players happens to be our goalie," Therrien said. "If you make a list of all the teams in the NHL, there are some that it's going to be their forwards. If they don't play up to their abilities, then their team is going to be in trouble. Your best players have to be your best players and Carey is a part of that. He helps us enormously to win games."

Pacioretty, who scored the only goal of the game Thursday, tipped a pass from Tomas Plekanec past Braden Holtby.

"A great play by Plekanec to put the puck at the net, but you look [at] Pacioretty, he gave it a second effort then got rewarded," Therrien said.

Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban got his 200th NHL point with an assist.

The Canadiens (32-13-3) extended their winning streak to five. Montreal had two six-game winning streaks this season, most recently from Dec. 20 to Jan. 3.

"We're all making contributions," Price said. "It's a team sport, obviously, with Max making a big contribution there at the end. Guys are all doing their part. I'm relying on the guys around me and they're relying on me and right now we've got a perfect harmony going."

Subban's one-timer struck the crossbar with 26 seconds left in the third period, and Holtby got a piece of Plekanec's wrist shot with 12 seconds left.

"Obviously there were spurts of momentum for both sides, and I think we had a great third period and we were really pressuring them. It was a lot of fun," Pacioretty said. "That last shift going into overtime probably gave us a bit of momentum going into the extra frame, and it was a lot of fun playing like that. It's two games in a row where it's a playoff-style mentality and we're trying to get a head start on playing like that and it's been successful so far."

Holtby made 29 saves before his shutout streak ended at 137:48. He got his fifth shutout in a 4-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

"I just came off my post a little bit; I thought he was taking the pass in the center," Holtby said. "I just tried to intercept it, he threw a stick out and deflected it short side. I have to see it again, but I think I just need to be a little bit more patient and trust myself that I can get over there if he takes it in the middle of the ice. It's a good play. That's what you get when you drive the net hard, you get chances like that."

Washington (25-14-10) is 1-4-1 in its past six games. The Capitals held a 26-13 advantage in shots through two periods, including 17-6 in the second.

"We had a lot of power plays in the first half of the game, which kind of dictates the play that way," Holtby said. "I try to not to think about the other end too much. Obviously, I think everyone knows what Carey is capable of and he showed it tonight. But in saying that, we had three posts. Hockey's a game of inches. If a couple of those go the other way we're on the winning side. So we have to be happy with the game we played against a very good Canadiens team over there."

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin had a 4:17 shift during the second period, from 6:44 until 11:01.

"He's a monster," Pacioretty said.

Ovechkin, who had eight of the Capitals' 36 shots, made Montreal's Nathan Beaulieu and Brendan Gallagher collide in an attempt to check him in the first period.

"You get the right whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said of Ovechkin. "He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

"He doesn't get enough credit a lot of times for how big and physical he is for what you would call more of a skill type of player because of what he does in terms of the snipe and the goal scoring that he's done for a number of years. You'd be talking about Mark Messier a lot in those categories, because you saw in that Pittsburgh game (a 4-0 win Wednesday), I don't need anybody to ride shotgun for him. He takes care of himself usually."

The Canadiens have allowed an NHL-low 108 goals.

"We're playing very well defensively right now," Price said. "Our guys are playing extraordinarily well around me. That group of defensemen, I'm really relying on those guys to do their job and it's making my job easier."

Price showed he was sharp during Washington's first power play. He anticipated Joel Ward's cross-crease pass to Brooks Laich and flashed his glove to deny the forward's shot from the right edge of the crease at 10:44 of the first period.

Ward hit the post 56 seconds into the second period. Capitals defenseman John Carlson drove a slap shot off the right post during the first of consecutive and overlapping Washington power plays midway through the second, and Price made a pad save on Brooks Laich on a rebound off another Carlson shot from the point.

"When you can't put the puck in the net, there were the posts there and when [Price] makes some good saves, you just give him that kind of confidence and make him feel good," Ovechkin said.

Holtby stopped Pacioretty's shorthanded chance at 1:44 of the third period. Price got his shoulder on Marcus Johansson's shot from the slot later in the third.

"I thought both goaltenders played really good tonight," Trotz said. "I thought we played a real solid road game. We just couldn't find the back of the net."

Washington hosts the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, when Montreal plays the Arizona Coyotes.

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