LOS ANGELES (CP) - Jeff Carter scored his 250th career NHL goal on a power play, Jonathan Quick made 17 saves to remain unbeaten since the Olympic break, and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 Monday night for their fifth straight victory.
Jake Muzzin scored an early goal for the Kings, who have won four games in six days since the break to solidify their playoff position in the Pacific Division, 10 points ahead of fourth-place Vancouver.
Los Angeles hung on to an early lead for its first home victory over the Canadiens since March 8, 2003.
P.K. Subban scored and Peter Budaj stopped 20 shots for Montreal, which had won five of six. The Canadiens opened a four-game West Coast trip with their first regulation loss since Feb. 2.
Quick put together another outstanding game for the Kings on the heels of his performance for the U.S. national team in Sochi, making a handful of stellar saves to beat the Canadiens for the first time in his career. With his 168th win, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner is just three behind Rogie Vachon for the Los Angeles franchise record.
The Kings followed up their 6-0 victory at Montreal on Dec. 10 with another solid performance against the Canadiens built around defence. Los Angeles has allowed an NHL-low 134 goals, and Montreal couldn't crack the Kings' defence except for Subban's fortunate deflection goal.
Montreal put goalie Carey Price on injured reserve with an apparent groin injury before the game, eight days after he posted a shutout in Canada's gold medal-winning victory over Sweden in Sochi. Price still might be able to play in Wednesday's game at NHL-leading Anaheim.
Budaj has started every game for Montreal since the break.
Just 1:54 in, Justin Williams led a rush into the Montreal zone ending with Muzzin's shot from the slot for his fifth goal.
Although Los Angeles dominated possession early, the Canadiens tied it late in the period when Quick blocked Subban's long shot, and the puck ricocheted off Jarret Stoll and into Quick's net. Subban, the gold medal-winning defenceman, has goals in two straight games after a 13-game drought.
Carter put the Kings back ahead early in the second period, putting Anze Kopitar's pass into the top corner of Budaj's net with a slick wrist shot for his 22nd goal of the season. Los Angeles' frequently terrible power play hadn't scored in back-to-back games since Jan. 18-20.
NOTES: Montreal visited Staples Center for the first time since Dec. 3, 2011. ... Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka and rising star Eugenie Bouchard, a Montreal-area native, both attended the game. The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., began Monday with qualifying play. ... Stoll played in his 700th NHL game.
The Numbers Game – March 3, 2014
War of attrition