Published February 13, 2012
| Sports Network
The Canadiens have scored 15 times during a four-game win streak that's come directly on the heels of an 0-3 slide. Montreal also won four in a row from Oct. 26-Nov. 4, but the Habs haven't recorded five straight victories since Feb. 26-March 8 of last season.
The recent tear has helped Montreal move within seven points of Toronto for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
The Canadiens turned in an impressive win over their biggest rival Saturday night in Toronto, as the Habs spoiled Mats Sundin night at Air Canada Centre by slamming the Maple Leafs, 5-0. Carey Price made 32 saves to record his fourth shutout of the season and 16th of his career and five different players scored for Montreal, which tallied four times in the second period en route to the blowout.
Prior to the game, former Leafs captain Mats Sundin's No. 13 was lifted to the rafters, but the Canadiens made sure that was the high point of the night for Toronto and its fans.
Mathieu Darche had a goal and an assist, while Erik Cole, Max Pacioretty, Rene Bourque and Lars Eller all scored. David Desharnais and Tomas Plekanec added two assists apiece for the Canadiens, while Price was also credited with an assist. Montreal also went 1-for-2 on the power play and stopped Toronto from scoring on its five chances with the man advantage.
"We did a lot of the things that we hoped we would do," Canadiens head coach Randy Cunneyworth said. "We kept the turnovers to a minimum and I think we played a responsible game overall."
Montreal is playing the first of two straight on home ice tonight and will also welcome Boston this Wednesday. The Canadiens are 11-11-7 at the Bell Centre this season.
On the injury front for the Habs, defenseman Yannick Weber is questionable for tonight after missing the last two games with a knee injury. Forward Travis Moen also sat out Saturday's tilt with an upper-body issue and is questionable this evening.
Carolina is coming off a consecutive overtime losses after beginning February with two straight victories. The Hurricanes are last in the Eastern Conference, but are just four points behind Montreal in the standings.
The Hurricanes have a dreadful 6-13-8 record as the road team this year and are completing a three-game swing tonight. Carolina dropped a 3-2 overtime test Wednesday in Anaheim and was then dealt a 4-3 setback Friday night in Colorado when Ryan O'Reilly scored the game-winner with 1.2 seconds left in the extra session.
With time winding down, O'Reilly picked the pocket of Justin Faulk in the neutral zone and skated the other way. From the left wing, O'Reilly cranked a shot that beat Cam Ward to the left side for the win.
Eric Staal had a goal and an assist, while Ward made 29 stops for the Hurricanes, who went 0-for-3 on the power play in the loss.
"We have to get better when we have our opportunities," said Staal. "We have to get in front of the net more. I liked our game tonight, especially in the first two periods. But our power play has to do a better job, especially with chances in the last five minutes."
After today's game, the Hurricanes will play seven of their next eight tilts on home ice. Carolina's next test is Friday night against visiting San Jose.
Montreal is 2-0 against the 'Canes this season and has claimed five of six overall in this series. Carolina has dropped three straight and four of its last five games at the Bell Centre.