Antti Raanta made 26 saves, Teuvo Teravainen scored two goals and the Carolina Hurricanes excelled on special teams in a 4-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
The Hurricanes scored three times on power plays and another time short-handed in their first game in nearly two weeks.
“It was kind of what I thought it was going to look like,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “Special teams were huge. I knew we’d struggle (with) 5-on-5 play because we had been out so long. The nature of the whole thing, I figured it would kind of look like that.”
Raanta, usually the backup in his first season with the Hurricanes, had his first shutout since Feb. 4, 2020. He stopped nine shots in each of the first two periods.
“I haven’t played in a couple of weeks, so it’s always a little tough to get all the saves as perfect as you want,” Raanta said.
Nino Niederreiter and Seth Jarvis also scored, Jaccob Slavin had three assists and Sebastian Aho added two assists.
The Hurricanes, who won for the seventh time in their last eight games, had seven skaters back since clearing COVID-19 protocol.
Montreal is 1-7-2 in its last 10 games. Sam Montembeault stopped 32 shots.
The Canadiens have been blanked four times this season, including twice in their last six games.
“We’re all trying to show that we belong,” Montreal centre Nick Suzuki said. “I thought we all worked hard. They have a good team over there and we just didn’t put the puck in the net.”
Niederreiter’s power-play goal opened the scoring shortly after the midway mark of the first period. Then, Teravainen converted on a short-handed breakaway, receiving a pass from Aho.
Teravainen provided the only second-period scoring with a power-play goal. Jarvis posted his first goal in his last 12 games in the third period.
The Hurricanes hadn’t played since Dec. 18, with four games since then called off. They had five games in December scrapped.
The Canadiens were in their second game since four games had been postponed, falling 5-4 in overtime Tuesday night at Tampa Bay.
Aho, the Carolina scoring leader, hadn’t played since Dec. 11 as he had one the longest layoffs among players on the team. His two assists pushed his points total to 34, giving him six consecutive multi-point games.
Montreal has 13 players in COVID-19 protocol after adding defencemen Louie Belpedio and Gianni Fairbrother prior to the game.
It was the NHL debut for Montreal left winger Brandon Baddock. So there were several new line combinations for the Canadiens.
“Try to find chemistry with different players,” Suzuki said. “You try to do your best.”
Montreal’s situation was further complicated when Brendan Gallagher exited with a lower-body injury after less than 10 minutes of ice time.
“We don’t think right now it’s too serious,” coach Dominique Ducharme said.
Goalie Frederik Andersen came out of Hurricanes protocol and was the backup. That left only defenceman Brendan Smith in the protocol among Carolina players.
Jesper Fast also came out of the COVID-19 protocol. That’s notable because he never missed a game during that time, so he’s one of six Hurricanes to play in all 30 games.
Quite a year
For 2021, the Hurricanes had the highest regular-season points percentage (.724) in the NHL. In 86 regular-season games in 2021, they were 58-19-9.
That’s the best win percentage for any NHL team in any year with at least 40 games played since 2013.
Canadiens: At Florida on Saturday.
Hurricanes: At Columbus on Saturday.