MONTREAL (AP) – With Carey Price in net, Brendan Gallagher figures other teams must find a two-goal cushion insurmountable.
Price made 37 saves, Gallagher got his 10th goal and the Montreal Canadiens ended the Columbus Blue Jackets’ six-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory Monday night.
“When you’re able to get a two-goal lead, it’s tough to score on Price,” Gallagher said. “The other team has to score three on him, and that’s tough to do on any given night.”
Jonathan Drouin scored in the first period and Andrew Shaw had an empty-net goal for Montreal in Price’s second straight victory since returning from injury.
Rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for the Blue Jackets, who lost for the first time since Nov. 10. Sergei Bobrovsky had allowed just six goals on Columbus’ winning streak but gave up two on 27 shots.
It was the second regulation loss for the Blue Jackets in 10 games against Atlantic Division opponents this season.
Coming off a 3-0 win against Buffalo on Saturday, the Canadiens picked up where they left off.
Montreal scored on its first two shots against Bobrovsky, the league leader in save percentage and goals-against average.
Gallagher capitalized on a giveaway by Cam Atkinson for the first at 3:11 with a sharp-angle shot, his 200th career point. Gallagher had 10 goals in 64 games last season.
Drouin doubled Montreal’s lead with a power-play goal at 8:10. Using Shaw as a screen, Drouin roofed the puck with a slap shot from the faceoff dot for his first goal since Nov. 5, ending an eight-game goalless drought.
Shaw added the empty-netter with 1:24 remaining in the game.
Price followed up his shutout performance against the Sabres with some jaw-dropping stops to deny the Blue Jackets. He sprawled for two quick pad saves on captain Nick Foligno five minutes into the game, the first coming when Price had his back to the puck. Midway through the second period, the Canadiens goalie denied Boone Jenner twice in quick succession from the crease.
“He was unbelievable,” Shaw said. “He battled for us, competed for us and made some big saves. It’s great to have him back.
Columbus outshot Montreal 18-7 in the second period, and Dubois scored at 16:08. He crashed the net and poked a loose puck past Price. Montreal coach Claude Julien challenged the play for goaltender interference, but the goal stood.
“They got two goals in the first and that really got us,” Dubois said. “We fought back, but it was too little too late. The first period really hurt us. Our compete level wasn’t high enough. Bob (Bobrovsky) kept us in the game but we couldn’t get more goals.”
NOTES: Canadiens D Shea Weber missed his fourth consecutive game with a lower-body injury. … Columbus beat Montreal 2-1 in overtime earlier this month (Nov. 14).
Blue Jackets: Host Carolina on Tuesday night.
Canadiens: Host Ottawa on Wednesday night.