ATLANTA – Carey Price made a quick recovery from the flu to stop 40 shots and help the Montreal Canadiens beat Atlanta 3-1 on Tuesday for their first win over the Thrashers in three tries this season.
Max Pacioretty, James Wisniewski and Brian Gionta scored for Montreal, which has won three of four.
Price stopped Atlanta's first 35 shots before Nik Antropov finally scored 14:14 into the third period to cut Montreal's lead to 2-1. Gionta scored an empty-net goal with 45 seconds remaining.
The loss was another setback to the Thrashers' playoff hopes. Atlanta ended a five-game skid by beating Toronto 3-2 in overtime on Sunday. The Thrashers rallied from a 2-0 deficit against Toronto but couldn't complete the comeback attempt against Montreal.
Price missed one game with the flu-like symptoms.
The Thrashers, who began the night tied for 10th in the Eastern Conference, have lost 17 of 21.
Pacioretty's unassisted goal in the first period gave Montreal an early lead.
Atlanta's Anthony Stewart was called for cross checking as the first period ended. Wisniewski's power play goal 34 seconds into the second pushed Montreal's lead to 2-0.
Price, who played in his second All-Star game this year, was less than 6 minutes away from his seventh shutout of the season when Antropov scored from outside the left circle. The New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist leads the NHL with eight shutouts.
The Thrashers, who outshot the Canadiens 41-23, kept Price busy.
Price withstood four Atlanta power plays in the first two periods. Following Montreal's fourth penalty kill, Atlanta trailed 2-0 despite a 21-6 advantage in shots on goal.
The Thrashers had two players in uniform who were acquired Monday: forwards Radek Dvorak, who came to Atlanta in a trade with the Florida Panthers, and Rob Schremp, who was claimed off waivers from the New York Islanders.
Notes: Montreal D Jaroslav Spacek is expected to miss four to six weeks following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The team announced the timetable after Spacek visited Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. ... Atlanta's Chris Mason stopped 20 shots. ... Thrashers G Ondrej Pavelec missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. ... The Canadiens were slow on substitutions early and drew two minor penalties for too many men on the ice.