MONTREAL — Carey Price made himself right at home in his return from a lower-body injury.
Price made 36 saves for his 40th NHL shutout and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 on Saturday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
“I felt pretty good,” Price said. “I felt prepared more than anything. I spent a lot of time thinking about today. I’m glad it all turned out well. Injuries aren’t a vacation. It took a lot to get ready.
Price missed 10 games with the injury. The shutout was his first since Feb. 28, 2017.
“That was the Carey Price we’re used to,” coach Claude Julien said. “He came back strong. He was calm tonight and excited to play. Very good first game for him.”
Jeff Petry, Alex Galchenyuk and Paul Bryon scored. Montreal’s last previous victory was against the Sabres two weeks ago.
Robin Lehner made 23 saves for the Sabres. They have lost eight of their last nine games.
Price had a shaky start to the season prior to getting hurt, but the 30-year-old looked like his old self Saturday. The goalie, whose specific injury was never disclosed, made key saves to keep his side in the game.
“When you watch him play, that’s the Carey Price that we’ve seen here since I’ve been in the league, since he’s been in the league,” Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher said. “Just look at how composed he was. He never really looks panicky. We feed off of that in front of him.”
In the second period, Price made back-to-back saves on Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson in close quarters. In the third, Price stopped Jack Eichel twice on the power play to preserve Montreal’s three-goal lead.
Petry got the home side on the board with his third goal of the season at 12:54 of the first period. With Montreal on the power play, Petry’s shot from the point went off Rasmus Ristolainen’s stick and the puck jumped over Lehner’s shoulder.
Galchenyuk made it 2-0 with his first goal in 12 games at 13:58 of the second period. Streaking down the ice on a 2-on-1 with Byron, Galchenyuk buried the rebound after Byron’s shot bounced off Lehner’s pad.
Byron got one of his own in the third period when he scored on a short-handed breakaway. The first-line winger intercepted a pass from Eichel and moved in all alone on Lehner, beating him five-hole.
It looked like Evander Kane had spoiled Price’s shutout with 32 seconds remaining in the game but the goal was disallowed for goaltender interference.
“I have no idea what they were reviewing,” Kane said. “I saw the replay. I don’t know if I have to go to the eye doctor but it looked like Sam was outside the crease. I don’t have anything good to say about that decision. We didn’t work hard enough to beat him (Price) or to score multiple goals in the game. They capitalized on the few chances they had.”
NOTES: Montreal D Shea Weber (lower-body) missed his third straight game. … Antti Niemi was Price’s backup after Charlie Lindgren was demoted to the AHL on Friday. … Montreal plays seven of its next eight games at the Bell Centre.
Sabres: Host Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.
Canadiens: Host Columbus on Monday night.
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