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02/19/2013 1:11 AM EST
Canadiens win 4th straight, 3-0 over Hurricanes
MONTREAL 3, CAROLINA 0

MONTREAL (AP) -- Michel Therrien's lessons about finishing off
games appear to be paying off for the Canadiens.



Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty scored 18 seconds apart in the
third period to seal Montreal's fourth straight win, a 3-0
victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.



Pacioretty added an assist and Brandon Prust also scored for
Montreal in the third. For the second straight game, the
Canadiens held their opposition below 20 shots on goal.



"You have to learn how to win and this part of that process.
We've had two games like this where it's tied 0-0 heading into
the third and we find a way to win," said Therrien, the
Canadiens' coach.



"We're starting to feel more and more comfortable about playing
those tight games. It's a great sign," he added. "It's good for
the confidence of the team, of the players. Good teams start to
feel comfortable in those games. I don't see any panic. Guys are
sticking to the plan."



Cam Ward stopped 23 shots for Carolina, which had its three-game
winning streak snapped.



Peter Budaj made 19 saves for his second win of the season and
10th career shutout - his first in a Canadiens uniform. He made
his second consecutive start for Montreal (10-4-1) while No. 1
goalie Carey Price recovers from the flu.



Budaj has allowed only one goal in the two games.



"The guys knew that they had to perform better in front of Peter
- he's always there for them. He always has a good attitude,
never complains about anything, and I really liked the way that
our team played in the last two games in front of him," Therrien
said of his goalie, who gave up nine goals in his first two
starts, both losses.



While not often tested, Budaj came through when his team needed
it, including some key stops in the late stages of the second as
the Hurricanes pressed.



"It's tough but as I said last time, you've got to be ready,"
Budaj said about facing few shots. "They've got a very good
team. They're a hardworking team that has a lot of offensive
power, even though they have a few guys hurt."



The Hurricanes (8-5-1) were without forward Jeff Skinner (upper
body) as well as injured defensemen Joni Pitkanen and Tim
Gleason. But they weren't about to use that as an excuse.



"We're missing some key guys, yeah, but you're going to have
injuries and everyone's going to go through it," Carolina coach
Kirk Muller said. "We didn't have that same killer instinct. We
didn't have that shooting mentality and we weren't attacking
like we normally do. We just didn't have our best game tonight."



The Canadiens had the better opportunities through a fairly
uneventful opening 40 minutes, forcing Ward to make big stops on
David Desharnais in close and Plekanec on a 2-on-1 with P.K.
Subban coming out of the penalty box.



Prust finally broke the scoreless deadlock 2:06 into the third
period. Lars Eller led the rush through the neutral zone before
dishing off to Alex Galchenyuk. The Canadiens' rookie evaded
Hurricanes defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti with some slick moves
before finding Prust driving to the net.



"When he's going and dangling like that, sometimes you've got to
make sure you don't just stop and watch," Prust said of his
19-year-old linemate. "I've learned to keep my stick on the ice
when he's got the puck because he'll find you, sometimes when
you don't think he's going to get it to you."



The Canadiens doubled their lead when Plekanec took a pass from
Pacioretty and tossed a shot from inside the left circle at
12:03. The puck bounced on to Ward's back and into the net,
giving the Canadiens' center his eighth goal of the year.



Pacioretty finally scored his first of the season at 12:21 when
his innocent-looking shot from the red line trickled past Ward.



"That's what we talked about in the intermission - we wanted to
get off to a good start and start putting the pressure on them
right away," Prust said. "They kind of took it to us a little
bit at the end of the second, so we wanted to come out and
change that momentum."



NOTES: Price dressed as Budaj's backup after missing Saturday's
game with the stomach flu. ... The Canadiens were without rookie
wing Brendan Gallagher (concussion), while Yannick Weber and
Tomas Kaberle were healthy scratches. ... Gallagher's absence
put forward Ryan White back into the lineup for the first time
since Feb. 7 in Buffalo.

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