VANCOUVER (NHL.com) - Carey Price made himself at right home in Vancouver.
With chants of "Carey, Carey" erupting after several of his biggest saves, the British Columbia native made 39 saves and the Montreal Canadiens took advantage of a fluke shorthanded goal credited to Lars Eller to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Saturday night at Rogers Arena.
Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty scored power-play goals, but Eller got credit for the game-winner after the Canucks put the puck in their own net. Eller was the last player to touch the puck on a dump-in while killing a penalty, but there wasn't a Montreal player below the hash marks when Dan Hamhuislost the puck off the skate of Jason Garrison near the goal line to the left of Roberto Luongo.
The goalie had his back to play as the puck bounced off both his skates and trickled over the goal line with Hamhuis, filling in for suspended defenseman Alexander Edler on the power play, fishing for it.
Defenseman Josh Gorges, who like Price was playing in his home province, rounded out the scoring on a point shot through traffic with 7:35 left as Montreal won its second straight on a four-game Western Canadian road trip that ends Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets.
Henrik Sedin scored and Luongo made 34 saves for the Canucks, who never seemed to recover from the own goal. Vancouver didn't even manage a shot the first half of the third period, dropping the final two games of a three-game homestand as they prepare to hit the road for the next seven games.
Playing without captain Brian Gionta, who was attending to a family issue back in Montreal, the Canadiens got a great early effort from Price, who is battling Luongo for a spot in Canada's Olympic crease.
Pacioretty opened the scoring on a power play 5:43 into the game, firing a shot from the left circle that bounced off bodies in front and trickled through the legs of Luongo and just over the goal line. That ended Vancouver's perfect penalty-kill streak to start the season at 18.
The Canucks had several great chances to tie it while outshooting the Canadiens 14-9 in the opening period, but Price made a couple of outstanding rebound saves to keep Montreal ahead. He slid right to left and extended his glove over his pad to take an empty net away from Garrison on a power play midway through the period, and scrambled to his right to get a piece of a similar Daniel Sedin chance with five minutes left in the first, prompting chants of "Carey, Carey" from a crowd littered with red, white and blue Canadiens jerseys.
Luongo responded with a couple of excellent stops off David Desharnais five minutes into the second, but Price answered that with five stops on a Vancouver power play before the Canucks finally tied it with 6:48 left in the period. Price again tracked Daniel Sedin perfectly to his left on a rebound after Garrison kept the puck in at the line, but this time Daniel spun back with a blind backhand pass to brother Henrik cutting into the slot for a tap-in with Price out of the play.
After the bad break, Luongo bounced back by stopping Pacioretty on a penalty shot after he was hauled down in alone 1:30 into the third period, getting the shaft of his stick on a rising wrist shot. But he had no chance when Plekanec converted the Canadiens' second power play with a struggling Hamhuis off for interference five minutes later.
After barely holding the puck in at the blue line, P.K. Subban made a pass that hit a Canucks skate and bounced right to a pinching Andrei Markov on Luongo's right. Markov sent it cross crease for a tap-in.