DETROIT // The Montreal Canadiens exploded for three second-period goals and a brilliant Cary Price stopped 32 shots in a 3-1 win over the Stanley Cup champions Detroit Red Wings yesterday. Reeling from back-to-back shootout losses, the Canadiens broke open a tight contest with three quick tallies and Price shut down the high-powered Detroit attack. "When there's about seven minutes left it's tough [to lose a shutout]," Price said. "But two points is more important.
"That was probably one of our most solid games of the year so far at both end of the rink. "I felt our effort was there more than anything. The guys really worked tonight. I think we put in a real honest effort." Much of that effort came in Montreal's own end of the rink as the Canadiens frustrated the free-wheeling Red Wings' offense that was averaging nearly four goals a game through nine contests in November. Detroit managed just 17 shots on Price in the first two periods and turned up the pressure in the third, hammering 16 shots at the Montreal netminder.
"We've been playing much better five-on-five defensively," the Canadiens' Christopher Higgins said. "We've concentrated on our effort defensively." Maxim Lapierre opened the scoring in the second period when his centring pass from behind the Detroit net deflected off Wings the defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. There was no luck involved in Montreal's second goal, however, Tomas Plekanec blasting the puck past Ty Conklin and just 80 seconds later Higgins added the third.
The Red Wings pulled one back with just over six minutes left, Johan Franzen recording his 10th of the season to spoil Price's shutout bid. It was just the Red Wings' third regulation time loss of the season. * Reuters