MONTREAL - It was a full-team effort on Thursday for the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Canadiens.
Montreal got goals from four players, eight different skaters recorded a point and Carey Price made 31 saves as the Canadiens blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 for their first back-to-back victories in March.
"All four lines played well tonight, which I can't say we've had for a while," said fourth-liner Dale Weise, who scored the game-winner and added an assist for his first multi-point game in more than a month. "It was nice to have a complete effort from the team. And our goaltender made the saves, as always.
"If we're going to have success down the stretch going into the playoffs, we need four lines that are going to score. There's no other way around it."
First-liners Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher added goals for the Canadiens. Second-liner David Desharnais also scored.
"I'm very satisfied," said head coach Michel Therrien. "Everybody got involved. This could have been a tricky game. We had a good start to the game and imposed our rhythm.
"We need contributions from everybody."
Price earned his league-leading and career-best 39th win of the season. He also picked up his eighth shutout of the campaign.
Montreal (45-20-7) has now won five straight encounters versus the Hurricanes (26-35-9).
The Canadiens set the tone early with first-period goals from Weise and Gallagher, and Montreal hardly looked back.
Weise put home his 10th of the year at 5:51, jumping on a juicy rebound after Anton Khudobin made the initial save on Manny Malhotra.
Three minutes later, Gallagher scored his career-high 20th goal of the season by swiping a backhand up and over Khudobin's shoulder.
The shots were 7-1 in favour of Montreal at that point.
"We didn't get physically engaged in the game for the most part at all," said Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters. "We didn't have enough quality chances throughout the night. In the first period, we weren't dangerous. All in all, we needed to be better than that."
Price was busier in the second period. The league leader in save percentage and goals-against average made back-to-back stops on Nathan Gerbe and Alexander Semin midway through the frame before making a dramatic toe save on Brad Malone a minute later.
The Canadiens rewarded their goalie's efforts late in the period by padding Montreal's lead. On a delayed penalty against Carolina, Desharnais made it 3-0 at 18:48 by sneaking behind an unsuspecting Eric Staal to tap in a cross-crease pass by defenceman Tom Gilbert.
The Hurricanes pressed for a goal in the third period as they outshot Montreal 16-5. But it was Pacioretty who found the back of the net at 14:46— banking the puck in off Khudobin from a near-impossible angle.
With 90 seconds on the clock, Price preserved his shutout by stopping Victor Rask on a breakaway. And in the final minute, Brandon Prust blocked a huge shot by Staal to keep Carolina off the scoreboard.
"(Price) already said thanks after the game," said Prust, who finished with an assist and a plus-3 rating. "We were out there for one reason, to make sure that puck didn't get in the net to make sure he got that shutout. I just tried to get in the lane."
Notes— Khudobin stopped 18-of-22 shots in defeat. … Montreal-born Danny Biega, recalled from the AHL's Charlotte Checkers on Wednesday, played his first career NHL game. The 23-year-old finished with a minus-2 rating. … Staal is without a point in his last four games. … Cam Ward missed the game with the flu. … Carolina has lost five of its last six games.