Price earns 2nd straight shutout, Canadiens top Sharks 2-0
MONTREAL (AP) Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was at a loss for words when he tried to describe goalie Carey Price's stellar season.
So he kept it simple.
''Carey was Carey again,'' Therrien said after Price made 29 saves to earn his second shutout in a row and ninth of the season in a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
Price, coming off a 4-0 win over Carolina on Thursday, earned his NHL-leading 40th victory to become the third Canadiens goalie to reach that milestone - following Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, who share the team record with 42 wins.
The 27-year-old Price also tied Bill Durnan for fourth on the Canadiens list with 34 career shutouts.
''I never would have thought as a kid or pictured myself in a situation like this,'' said Price, the runaway league leader in nearly every goalie stat. ''I've been blessed immensely and I've been helped a lot to get where I am. I have a lot of people to thank.''
Tomas Plekanec scored in the first period, and Brendan Gallagher added an empty-net goal with 14 seconds left as Eastern Conference-leading Montreal (46-20-7) won its third game in a row.
The Canadiens have been outshot 48-13 in the third period of those games.
Antti Niemi made 27 saves for the Sharks (35-29-8), whose chase for a Western Conference playoff spot took a hit.
''Price made the difference,'' Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. ''We played well. We had chances.''
The Sharks outshot Montreal 11-4 in the final period. Logan Couture appeared to have the tying goal on his stick with San Jose playing with an extra skater in the last minute, but his shot hit the knob of Price's stick and stayed out.
Asked how he stopped it, Price grinned and said ''I don't know, but it felt lucky. I got the end of my stick on it. Sometimes you just get fortunate.''
Montreal was down one defenseman after Vlasic's shot hit Tom Gilbert in the mouth late in the second. It was the second straight game in which Gilbert took a puck to the face.
He didn't return, and Therrien didn't have an update on his condition after the game.
The remaining five defensemen dug in and helped keep the Sharks without a goal.
''You've got to give those five guys credit,'' Price said. ''That's not an easy team to play against.
''They have a grinding, fast-paced style of hockey. Every game (the Montreal defensemen) put on their work boots and they block shots, with their face if need be.''
The Canadiens had been shut out in their previous three meetings with the Sharks, including a 4-0 loss at San Jose on March 2. Plekanec ended a sequence of 215 minutes without a goal at 18:46 of the opening period.
After a crisscross passing sequence on a rush into the San Jose zone, Alex Galchenyuk fed Plekanec for a goal from a sharp angle.
NOTES: Montreal D Jeff Petry returned after missing one game due to an illness. ... Two of Montreal's minor league defense prospects are injured. Davis Drewiske (wrist surgery) is gone for the remainder of the season. Jarred Tinordi has an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.