The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings were all over the Canadiens on Friday night, but that didn't matter to Montreal goaltender Carey Price.
The goalie who backstopped Canada to gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics was at his all-world best as the Canadiens pulled out a 6-2 victory despite being dominated territorially and being outshot 46-20.
"There was a little bit of (Dominik) Hasek in net today, a little bit of Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur and a little bit of Carey Price," Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban said, listing a few of the all-time greats.
The same could not be said of Kings backup goalie Martin Jones, who came into the game with shutouts in his last two matches but allowed three goals on the first eight shots.
Subban and David Desharnais each had a goal and an assist while Jiri Sekac, with two, Andre Markov and Sven Andrighetto also scored for Montreal (19-10-2). The Canadiens won a second game in a row, thanks to Price.
"He's a great goaltender and he has the ability to make great saves," added Subban. "There's only a few goaltenders in the league that can do that and he's definitely one of them.
"It's not a surprise to us seeing him do that but to be able to see him do it against one of the best teams in the league, that's what we need."
Defencemen Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty scored for the Kings (15-10-5), who have lost three of their last four but were coming off a 5-3 win Thursday night in Ottawa.
They played well enough to win in Montreal. Dustin Brown had eight shots, but didn't have a point and went minus-3. Trevor Lewis fired seven times and Muzzin six.
"We had a lot of really good chances," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. "We totally dominated the first period. I think Carey Price was really, really good, wasn't he?"
The Kings, as a team, have been labouring to score this season, with top end players like Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik and Brown all well below their usual scoring pace.
After a five-goal outburst in Ottawa, The frustration returned in Montreal.
"We had the puck a lot and we created a lot, but no goals at the end of it," said Muzzin. "You need goals to win.
"I thought we battled back and stuck with it and continued trying to fight and get some more goals. It just wasn't happening."
Price had an answer for nearly everything until Muzzin and Doughty broke through in the third period.
"There was a furry in the second period, it was just desperation," Price said, recalling his busiest moments. "There was one in the first on Drew. He got me back in the third.
"Just playing the odds and getting lucky out there. Just trying to keep it simple, stupid."
Price is 16-8-1 and has two shutouts, but could not have had a better game this season. The 46 shots and 44 saves were season highs.
"We were definitely opportunistic," he said. "We capitalized on the few chances we got.
"That's a good hockey club over there. They played well. The score doesn't indicate how the game went. We'll take the two points, obviously."
The Kings owned the puck in the first, outshooting Montreal 14-4. But the Canadiens got the only goal.
Doughty had served only four seconds of an interference call when Tomas Plekanec won a draw to the point, and Subban's point shot beat Jones at 8:16 off a deflection in front. Montreal didn't get a shot the rest of the period.
The Canadiens had a man advantage to start the second frame and Markov scored on a point shot that was deflected at 1:01. Only 2:44 later, Subban one-timed a drop pass from Dale Weise and saw the puck trickle through Jones's pads. Manny Malhotra got his first point in 31 games as a Canadien on the goal.
Muzzin scored on the King's 34th shot at 3:35 of the third when his wrist shot from the point went in off Markov's hand.
Desharnais scored his first goal in 13 games since Nov. 15 when he one-timed P.A. Parenteau's pass in on a two-on-one 9:47 into the third.
Only 1:01 later, Doughty beat Price cleanly with a shot from the right side.
Andrighetto was alone in the right circle to swipe in Michael Bournival's pass at 13:59. The Swiss rookie has one point in each of his first three NHL games. Sekac got another at 15:26 on a bad-angled shot with Jones down.
"Sometimes quality over quantity is more important," said Price. "Tonight was one of those instances where they got a lot of so-called stat-padders. But for the most part, I thought we did a good job of picking up the rebounds in front. They didn't get a whole lot of second chances."