Canadiens vs. Hurricanes game recap: Habs blanked again

The Habs were unable to find the net and gain any ground in the standings.

After having faced the Hurricanes (24-19-8) last Thursday at the Bell Centre in Montreal, the Canadiens were hoping for a better outcome. The scoring woes continued for team on Thursday evening as they were shut out for the seventh time this season, this time by the Carolina Hurricanes, by a 2-0 margin.

The two teams had combined for 11 goals one week prior, with a see-saw game winding up in a 6-5 victory for the Canes.

At the conclusion of the All-Star break, Montreal (20-25-6) knew that the final stretch wouldn’t be easy, but if they were to make the post-season, they would have to get on track and build some serious momentum immediately. Now winless since the mid-season festivities, that path is virtually impossibly.

Thursday’s contest in North Carolina saw the two teams start both goalies from their previous meeting, with Montreal sending Carey Price, and Carolina giving the nod once again to Cam Ward.

Neither team could find the back of the net in the opening period, with seven shots apiece, the Habs getting the majority of theirs in the final minutes of the frame.

Early in the second, after a clean faceoff win by the Canes, blue-liner Brett Pesce fired a shot that went off Price’s blocker for the first goal of the game. The goal was also Pesce’s first goal in 82 games, dating back to January 14, 2017.

The teams continued their tight game with the score remaining at 1-0 after 40 minutes, with Montreal leading 19-18 in the shot column.

Montreal hasn’t been able to put together a lot of offence as of late, and if they do muster more than a few goals, they still manage to find a way to not come out on top.

The Canadiens did have a power play opportunity late in the second — their lone chance on the man advantage in the game — but it was all for nought.

Late in the third period, with Montreal still fighting to try and get the equalizer, an odd bounce pass from Justin Williams to teammate Brock McGinn caught Price and the Habs defence off guard to put his team up 2-0 in the game.

Despite putting out a sixth attacker, the Canadiens couldn’t get it done, and wound up blanked.

Price, for his part, still made 28 saves in the loss. Ward’s 27 saves gave him his second shutout of the season, and first since January 4 versus the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

Over the off-season, Ward, a Stanley Cup winner as a rookie back in 2006, seemed like he was losing his starting role when the team acquired Scott Darling from the Chicago Blackhawks. However with Darling oft-injured, Ward has stepped up his game, and now has 15 wins on the season.

The Canadiens now travel back home for Family Day weekend at the Bell Centre, hosting the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday and then the Ottawa Senators on Super Bowl Sunday. Both games will be at 1:00 PM EST.

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