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Canada

In the Habs' Room: Price comes up big in 3-2 win over Kings

Any time you pick up two points you have to be happy, but it would be a mistake to credit the Canadiens with a solid performance in their 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

The Habs were outstanding in the first period as they grabbed a 3-0 lead on the strength of two power-play goals by Shea Weber, who has scored 101 career goals with the man-advantage.

But the Canadiens failed to press their advantage over the second and third periods and they were hanging on at the end. It took a series of big saves from Carey Price to seal the win. Weber scored goals on the first two Montreal power plays, but the Canadiens were unable to score on their last four advantages. Part of the problem mIght have been related to Weber’s first-period success as his teammates tried to set him up a for a hat-trick.

Canadiens goalie Carey Price makes a save against the Los Angeles Kings at the Bell Centre in Montreal onSaturday, Nov. 9, 2019. Eric Bolte / USA TODAY Sports

There was also the matter of players getting to know each other. Claude Julien tried to inject some jump into his offence by juggling his four lines. And those new lines didn’t stay together a lot in the first two periods because there were a lot of power plays and penalty-kill situations.

“We didn’t play (together) a lot … maybe more in the third,” said Jonathan Drouin, who was on the nominal No. 1 line with Phil Danault and Brendan Gallagher. “But in the first two periods, we just played a couple of shifts, a couple of face-offs. There’s some stuff we could work on, but for the first game it’s pretty good.”

Weber was the centre of attention on this night, not because he scored twice, but because of the way he scored his first goal. His initial shot was blocked, but the puck flew into the air and Weber drove it home on a half-volley worthy of top-level cricket batsman.

“I can’t remember a shot like that,” Weber said. “That was a weird one waiting for it to come down. I got lucky.”

“I’ve seen a lot of good bounces, but I’ve never seen a goal scored in that fashion, but that was a good shot,” Price said.

Weber has three goals in the last two games and six for the season. His 13 points put him among the team points leaders and he’s among the top 10 defence scorers in the league.

‘I’m not surprised because when he get his opportunities, he makes the most of them,” Price said.

Weber had a busy night. He led the Canadiens with 25 minutes of ice time, put seven shots on goal, had three shots blocked and had three others go wide.

Price tried to put the Kings’ comeback in perspective.

“Any team that’s down is going to apply pressure, but I think their goaltender played well,” Price said. ” We had opportunities to seal it, but (Jonathan Quick) played really well.”

And Weber said he didn’t see the L.A. push as a sign the Canadiens let down.

“Even though we didn’t score, I thought the power play generated some good chances (in the second period),” Weber said. “It was good for us in the first and it stood up.”

The Canadiens’ other goal was scored by 34-year-old Nate Thompson, whose work on the fourth line and as a penalty killer has been impressive.

“The way he finished last season, we said we have to get this guy back, this is a guy we could use,” Julien said. “He brings experience on the ice, but off the ice he’s a leader in the room. You can’t find any negatives in his game because he’s played above and beyond what we expected.”

phickey@postmedia.com

twitter.com/zababes1

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