ST. LOUIS (AP) — Once again, Carey Price made himself right at home in an unfamiliar environment. The Montreal Canadiens backed their goalie with big production.
Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher had two goals apiece and Price set a franchise record with his ninth straight road win in a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night.
“It’s just amazing the way he’s played this year,” Galchenyuk said. “In my mind, he’s the best goalie in the league.
“We’re so confident to play for him.”
Price made 27 saves and topped the record he’d shared with Rogie Vachon (1968-69). He leads the NHL with a 1.91 goals-against average, is second with 34 wins and has allowed more than two goals just once in his last 15 games.
“We’re a very confident team when we go into an opposing team’s building and we wind up playing the right way,” Price said. “We’ve been rewarded for it.”
The Canadiens have won nine of 10 on the road overall and have 83 points, staying a point ahead of the Islanders for first in the East.
David Backes and T.J. Oshie scored for the Blues, who wrapped up a 1-3 homestand. In brief remarks, coach Ken Hitchcock was critical of every aspect of their game.
“We’re not paying any respect to defense, to managing the puck, to managing the proper way to playing,” Hitchcock said. “We’re showing no respect for what matters.”
St. Louis is among the Western Conference leaders with 78 points, but has surrendered the first goal in eight consecutive home games.
“We had a January that was fantastic, where we were getting accolades and we were spreading that around the team,” Backes said. “Now, we’re in a little bit of a lull and a dip and we’re going to shoulder the load as a group, and the solution is spread between everybody as well.”
Montreal took control with three goals in the second period, the last two in a span of 48 seconds by Gallagher and Michael Bournival to make it 4-1. Gallagher scored unassisted on a 2-on-1 break after Vladimir Tarasenko missed connections with defenseman Jay Bouwmeester on a drop pass. Bournival scored on a break-in coming out of the penalty box.
The Canadiens took the lead when Galchenyuk deflected P.K. Subban’s point shot for the only goal in the first period. The Blues haven’t led after the first for nine in a row at home since Jan. 17, when they were up 1-0 against Toronto.
Galchenyuk made it 2-0 when he beat Jake Allen to the short side 3:11 into the middle period. He has 18 goals, including a hat trick and a pair of two-goal games — both this month.
St. Louis cut the gap to one on pinpoint passing by Oshie, Tarasenko and Backes, who got his 20th goal on a tip-in. The goal came six seconds after Subban’s holding penalty expired.
Oshie scored from the point late in the second and Gallagher scored on a slap shot from the point on a power play late in the third period.
NOTES: Subban and Andrei Markov had two assists apiece for Montreal. … Bournival has three goals, the other two coming Jan. 2 at New Jersey. … Galchenyuk missed the previous two games with flu-like symptoms. “He’s a big part of our success offensively. As well we all know,” coach Michel Therrien said. “It was nice to see him back.”… In the last 11 home games, St. Louis has been outscored 11-3 in the first period. … Standing room attendance of 19,383 was the Blues’ 14th sellout. … Montreal acquired forward Devante Smith-Pelly from Anaheim on Tuesday for rookie F Jiri Sekac.
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