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Canadiens' backup goalie Budaj records shutout

The SportsXchange

MONTREAL - Peter Budaj stepped up and helped the Montreal Canadiens get through the loss of Carey Price for a couple of games to the flu.

Budaj got his first shutout in over two years and the Canadiens extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.

Budaj, who won his second straight start, made 19 saves for his first Montreal shutout. It was his 10th career shutout and his first since Nov. 6, 2010, when he stopped 31 shots in Colorado's 5-0 win over Dallas.

"It's always a bonus when you get a shutout, but I think it's a great win for us," said Budaj, who is in his second season as Price's backup. "We keep this great thing going and the team played great in front of me."

Price dressed as the backup after missing Saturday night's 4-1 win over Philadelphia.

Brandon Prust broke a scoreless tie with his second goal 2:06 into the third period. Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty then scored 18 seconds apart to put Montreal up by three at 12:21.

Cam Ward made 23 saves for Carolina, which lost in regulation for the first time in seven games.

"We didn't bring it in that third period like we normally have been doing, and we didn't capitalize," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said.

Hurricanes captain Eric Staal had his 11-game points streak halted. Staal, who fell one game short of matching the longest points streak of his career, had eight goals and nine assists during the streak, the longest in the NHL this season.

Carolina had gone 5-0-1 since a 5-3 loss in Philadelphia on Feb. 2.

Prust finished off a nice play by 19-year-old Alex Galchenyuk to put Montreal up 1-0 early in the third.

"I've learned to keep my stick on the ice when he's got the puck because he'll find you sometimes when you don't think he's going to get it to you," Prust said. "He's a great player."

Plekanec made it 2-0 at 12:03 of the third when he drove a slap shot that struck the top of Ward's left shoulder. The puck dropped behind the Hurricanes' goalie and trickled into the net.

Ward then was victimized by a tricky bounce on Pacioretty's dump-in on a shot flipped toward the Carolina goal from behind the center red line.

Pacioretty claimed his first goal of the season when the puck bounded past Ward into the left side of the net, drawing a huge roar from the Bell Centre crowd while Plekanec's goal was still being announced.

"The young kid made a nice play with the drag and Prusty scored, and then from there we just didn't get anything back offensively," Staal said. "They got two lucky ones after that but we just didn't have enough jump or enough energy that we've played with in the last little while, and tonight it showed with a loss."

Hurricanes right wing Patrick Dwyer and Galchenyuk were given roughing minors 11:21 into the first period. The skirmish came about after Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban sent Dwyer flying backward with a solid open-ice hit.

Carolina center Riley Nash made his season debut after he was recalled from AHL Charlotte earlier in the day. Jeremy Welsh was also in the lineup after being recalled from Charlotte.

NOTES: Hurricanes center Tim Brent left Monday's morning skate early because of a lower-body injury. Carolina was already without center Jeff Skinner and defensemen Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkanen. Skinner did not make the trip because of an upper-body injury. Pitkanen has a lower-body injury. Gleason, who also has a lower-body injury, was placed on the injured reserve list, retroactive to Feb. 12. ... Montreal rookie Brendan Gallagher is out with a concussion. Gallagher, 20, had a goal and an assist in the Canadiens' 4-1 win over Philadelphia on Saturday night before he was injured on a third-period hit by Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn. ... Price made one of the biggest saves of the first two periods when he snared a puck headed into the Montreal bench area on Carolina defenseman Jamie McBain's clearing attempt, protecting TV analyst and former NHL goalie Marc Denis, who was standing to his right. Price recorded his first shutout of the season in his last start, a 1-0 win at Florida on Thursday.
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