In the Habs’ Room: Price’s 30-save shutout shovels Jets in 2-0 series hole

“He’s solid,” Phil Danault said of Montreal’s goaltender. “He’s really in the zone and he wants to win. He gives us wings.”

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“It’s fun.”

That’s the way Carey Price described the experience of protecting a razor-thin lead Friday night as the Canadiens shut out the Jets 1-0 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg.

Price made 30 saves to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven North Division final with the series moving to the Bell Centre for games Sunday and Monday.

Price had a relatively easy time for most of Friday’s game. While his teammates didn’t supply him with goals, they did block shots and limited Winnipeg’s scoring chances. That changed in the final 3:20 of the game as the Jets fired eight shots on goal and Price had to be at his best.

“They put the pressure on,” Price said. “They were playing  desperate hockey towards the end of the game and they were throwing pucks toward the net. You battle and compete and sometimes pucks just hit you.”

“He’s solid,” said Phil Danault. “He’s really in the zone and he wants to win. He gives a chance to win every game. He gives us wings.”


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The Jets played with an extra attacker for most of the late push and that did provide a chance for an empty-net goal. But, on a night when the Canadiens’ offence was non-existent, they couldn’t even find the empty net. They had one opportunity go awry when Tyler Toffoli hit a post and Danault’s attempt off the rebound was stopped by Winnipeg defenceman Neal Pionk.

The victory extended Montreal’s season-longest winning streak, which is even more impressive because the Canadiens have never trailed in that run.

Danault said season-long adversity allowed the Canadiens to turn things around after falling behind 3-1 in the opening series against Toronto.

“Everything we’ve been through, the injuries, having to play every two days,” Danault said. “We have a tight group and we’ve really bought into what (the coaching staff) has given us as structure. Everyone does his job and that’s how we got rewarded.”


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Coach Dominique Ducharme also said the difficulties encountered in the regular season made his team stronger.

“Our game is like a puzzle,” he said. “It’s not one thing, everything had to come together.”

“We’re consistent,” Ducharme said. “Back when the playoffs started against the Maple Leafs, we found ways to get ourselves in trouble. We’ve improved. The confidence is growing. Everybody is on the same page. I like our execution and the way we’re playing defensively. With confidence comes patience. We’re confident that by playing our style of game, the results will come. Our decisions with the puck are good and we’re being rewarded.

“We’ve been playing very well defensively,” Ducharme added. “We’re improving night after night. That’s what we want to do. We want to keep doing that in Montreal and be even better.”


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It was defence that provided the game’s only goal as Toffoli scored shorthanded early in the second period. The Canadiens had nine shorthanded goals in the regular season and Toffoli’s was the second in the playoffs.

“We’re playing good defensively so they try to force some plays and sometimes we can capitalize on that,” Danault said. “Toff scored on a helluva shot.”


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