Carey Price had 28 saves for his 43rd career shutout, Brett Kulak and Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored goals midway through the third period, and the host Montreal Canadiens beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Saturday night.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 28 shots for Colorado, which is 1-7-2 in its last 10 games.
The Canadiens’ offense had dried up at home the past three games. Coming into Saturday, Montreal had gone 87 minutes, 13 seconds without a goal at the Bell Centre. After a scoreless first two periods, the Canadiens finally broke through.
Killing off a Colorado power play, Phillip Danault, who had two assists, won a faceoff in the Avalanche end back to Kulak, whose shot from the point beat Varlamov at 8:21. It was the Canadiens’ first home goal since midway through a 4-1 loss to Nashville on Jan. 5.
Montreal didn’t wait long for another. Just 2:18 later, Kotkaniemi made it 2-0 with his fifth of the season.
Colorado pulled Varlamov for an extra skater, but Jordie Benn scored into the empty net with 1:16 left to ice it.
Although there weren’t any goals through the first two periods, there were some heated tempers. The Canadiens took exception to Colorado defenseman Ian Cole’s hard check on forward Michael Chaput late in the second period.
Cole’s check at the Montreal blue line drew the ire of Nicolas Deslauriers and Mike Reilly, even though Cole wasn’t given a penalty for the hit. Deslauriers went off for crosschecking, and Reilly and Cole got matching roughing minors.
Colorado had chances to take the lead. In the first period, Carl Soderberg missed the net on a short-handed breakaway chance. Early in the third period, Matt Calvert got behind the Canadiens’ defense, but Price stopped his chance.
The Avalanche got some reinforcements before the game.
Forward Colin Wilson returned from an eight-game absence because of an upper-body injury, and defenseman Mark Barberio, who was also out with an upper-body injury, was back in the lineup. He took the place of Patrik Nemeth, who was out sick.