For the New Jersey Devils, victories remain elusive.
Michael Bournival scored his first two goals of the season and Price made 22 saves on a personal milestone night and the Canadiens extended their winning streak to five with a 4-2 victory over the Devils on Friday.
Price got his 200th victory in his 400th game as Montreal won for the eighth time in the past nine games. The team publicity staff grabbed the game puck for future presentation.
"It's a lot of fun to be able to accomplish that tonight," Price said of the 200th win. "There have been ups and downs along the way, but to finally get this means a lot. The organization will do a nice job and put the puck on a plaque. It's just fun right now to come to the rink, and play with these guys."
Winning certainly enhances the fun.
So does scoring, and Bournival was in good spirits after finally hitting the net. He got a fortunate bounce on the first score before burying the second one.
"The first one was real lucky," Bournival said. "The second one, I did a good job getting in position. When you're in front like that, good things will happen."
Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec also scored for the Canadiens while P.K. Subban had three assists.
"We definitely have had a lot of success of late and won a lot of close games," Pacioretty said. "This was a tight-checking game, a good win for us."
The Devils are headed in the opposite direction. They have only two wins in the past 12 games (2-7-3). Rookie Keith Kinkaid also made 22 stops. Michael Ryder got a goal in his return after missing three games with the mumps. Mike Cammalleri also scored for the Devils.
Down 3-0 in the third period, New Jersey got two late goals to make it close.
"The first two periods, I don't think we gave ourselves a chance," general manager and co-coach Lou Lamoriello said. "We had too many turnovers and a lack of discipline, but we played better in the third period. We came back. We had an opportunity. That's what you ask for."
Montreal outshot New Jersey 7-6 in the scoreless first period and had the better chances.
The Canadiens were most effective early and late in the period. They outshot the Devils 5-1 in the first five minutes as Kinkaid made close-in stops on Pacioretty and Brandon Prust.
Montreal buzzed again in the closing minutes with P.A. Parenteau missing from the slot and Brendan Gallagher hitting the post.
The Devils came close early in the second. Price made a stick stop on Jaromir Jagr's shot from the right circle set up nicely by Scott Gomez.
The Canadiens opened the scoring at 6:31 of the second. Bournival carried the puck down the left wing and his centring pass glanced off the right skate of Devils defenceman Jon Merrill past a surprised Kinkaid.
The Devils weren't as fortunate minutes later when Marek Zidlicky hit the crossbar from the right circle.
Pacioretty upped the Montreal lead to 2-0 on a power-play goal with 51 seconds left in the period. Pacioretty fired a shot from the right circle that glanced off Kinkaid's glove on its way into the net.
Bournival struck again 2:47 into the third, swiping home a rebound from the slot.
Price lost his shutout bid 34 seconds later when Ryder stole the puck from Alexei Emelin at the Montreal blue line. Ryder skated down the right wing and beat Price to the short side for his first goal since Nov. 6.
"I felt pretty good," Ryder said. "I didn't feel like I missed a step. It's a matter of playing the way I can and show the coaches that they can have confidence in me out there and I can help the team."
Adam Larsson hit the post for New Jersey midway through the period as Montreal maintained a 3-1 lead.
New Jersey narrowed the gap when Cammalleri scored at 14:11.
Plekanec closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal in the final minute.
NOTES: The Devils activated forwards Patrik Elias (mumps), Martin Havlat (virus) and Ryder from the injured reserve list. To clear roster room, New Jersey sent forwards Joe Whitney and Stefan Matteau to Albany (AHL) and placed RW Mike Sislo on waivers. ... This was the fourth stop on a five-game road trip for Montreal that concludes Saturday in Pittsburgh. ... Price became the third goalie to play 400 games with the Canadiens, trailing only Jacques Plante (556) and Patrick Roy (551). ... New Jersey defenceman Peter Harrold took a whack in face from the stick of Montreal's Nathan Beaulieu midway through the first period, and was down on the ice for several minutes. He went to the locker room, and did not return. No penalty was called. ... New Jersey fell to 1-3 since firing coach Pete DeBoer last week and replacing him with a trio of coaches including Lamoriello.