MONTREAL — The Colorado Avalanche lost their third straight game, and ninth in 10 games, 3-0 to the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday.
Carey Price made 28 saves for his third shutout this season and second in his past five starts.
Brett Kulak and Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored 2:28 apart in the third period, and Jordie Benn scored into an empty net for Montreal (24-17-5), which has won two of its past three games.
“Obviously, [Kulak] came out with a big goal there and we played pretty solid on the defensive side of the puck tonight,” Price said.
Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves for Colorado (20-17-8), which is 1-7-2 in its past 10 games.
“It was a tight checking game, not a whole bunch going on as far as producing scoring chances on either end of it,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “And, you know, each team had a little flurry here and there through the first two periods.”
The Canadiens were able to hold Colorado’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon (66 points), Gabriel Landeskog (51 points) and Mikko Rantanen (68 points) in check as the trio combined for a minus-4 rating.
“Yeah, I mean, obviously they’re one of the best lines in the League, dangerous from one side to the other,” Montreal captain Shea Weber said. “We talked about not just the five guys that are out there, there’s other guys that are going to have to go out there against them. I thought everybody did a pretty good job tonight.”
Kulak scored a shorthanded goal with a point shot through a screen off a face-off at 8:21 of the third period to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead.
“I knew exactly where he was, but sometimes on the face-off it’s not always perfect, but that one was and good shot by [Kulak], definitely,” said Canadiens forward Phillip Danault, who won the face-off.
Kotkaniemi made it 2-0 at 10:39 on a one-timer from the right circle off a cross-ice pass from Jonathan Drouin. It was his first goal in 13 games.
Benn extended the lead to 3-0 at 18:44, taking the puck off a face-off win by Danault and shooting the length of the ice into the empty net.
Montreal went 0-for-3 on the power play and has not scored a goal with the man advantage in its past nine home games (0-for-27).
Colorado went 0-for-4 on the power play.
“Our power play kind of struggled tonight,” Bednar said. “I thought Montreal did a really nice job up ice disrupting our rhythm, and we didn’t get set up really like we normally do. And we kind of struggled through that, and then they ended up giving up a goal against, too, on the face-off there at the end. … So it turns out to be the difference in the hockey game.
“I mean, if we can step up on one of those power plays and find a way to put one in, and you know, it’s a different hockey game. But we were unable to do that, and we’ve got to give Montreal credit for that.”
They said it
“He’s been around for a long time and he’s good on both sides of the puck. He’s tough to play against, but we’ve played against some of the best defensemen in the League already and we do it every night. You know, we’re trying to create offense in different ways and tonight we just couldn’t find the back of the net.” — Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber
“I thought we played a pretty good game tonight, came out with a lot of energy. And we could have scored early on, but we didn’t. We stuck with it and finished it off in the third.” — Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber
Need to know
It was the second time Colorado has been shut out this season. The Avalanche lost 1-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 24. … MacKinnon had his eight-game point streak end. … Price has 43 NHL shutouts, three behind Ken Dryden for third in Canadiens history. George Hainsworth is first with 75 and Jacques Plante is second with 58.
Avalanche: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TSN4, ALT, NHL.TV)
Canadiens: At the Boston Bruins on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)