MONTREAL -- The Carolina Hurricanes put in a gutsy effort Monday against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
This night, gutsy wasn't enough to win.
Breaking open a scoreless game early in the third period, the Canadiens used goals by Brandon Prust, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty and solid goaltending from Peter Budaj to take a 3-0 victory.
The Hurricanes (8-5-1) came into the game with a three-game winning streak and were 5-1-1 over the past six. But they also came to Montreal without forward Jeff Skinner and defensemen Joni Pitkanen and Tim Gleason, out with injuries, and had center Tim Brent pull out of the game after an injury in Monday's morning skate.
Canes goalie Cam Ward matched saves with Budaj through two periods until Prust struck barely two minutes into the third. On a rush by the Habs into the zone, Prust followed up on a rebound of an Alex Galchenyuk shot for his second goal of the season and first since Jan. 27.
The Habs weren't through. Plekanec, who has burned the Canes often, ripped a shot that hit Ward in the shoulder and fell over the goal line with 7 minutes, 57 seconds left in regulation. Moments later, Max Pacioretty scored on a long shot and the Habs (10-4-1) were on their way to a fourth straight win.
The Canes had to kill off three penalties in the second period -- and Ward come up with a big save -- to keep the game scoreless after two periods.
Ward kicked out his right pad to stop a point-blank shot by Plekanec with 7:30 left in the second. That came after the Canes had killed off a slashing penalty on Jiri Tlusty and then a holding penalty against Jay Harrison.
Carolina's Jordan Staal then was called for hooking with seven minutes left in the second, but the Canes' penalty killers again got the job done.
Budaj made three stops in one torrid sequence late in the second period as the Canes kept the puck in the offensive zone. Budaj first stopped a shot by Drayson Bowman. After a line change by Carolina, Budaj turned back shots by Alexander Semin and the Eric Staal.
The Hurricanes, averaging 34.9 shots a game, had just five first-period shots and 13 after 40 minutes. The Habs had seven shots in the first and 18 through two.
Budaj was making his second straight start and fourth appearance of the season as Carey Price recovers from flu-like symptoms.
The Canes got some strong forechecking from its third and fourth line at times in the first. Late in the first, Galchenyuk -- the Habs' first-round pick in the 2012 draft -- was called for holding Bowman, but the only power play of the first period was killed easily by the Canadiens as the Canes managed one shot.
There was one testy moment in the first. Habs defenseman P.K. Subban hit the Canes' Pat Dwyer with a hard hip check along the boards. A brief scuffle of players ended with Dwyer and Galchenyuk both going to the box for roughing.
Canes coach Kirk Muller said he might juggle some lines between the morning skate and game and did as center Jeremy Welsh was recalled from the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) and made it to Montreal in time for the game. Welsh centered Andreas Nodl and Chad LaRose while Riley Nash, recalled Sunday from the Checkers, centered Bowman and Tim Wallace.
Jussi Jokinen, who has centered the third line, was on the left wing on Jordan Staal's line with Jeff Skinner missing the game with an upper-body injury.
The Habs came into the game off a three-game winning streak, topping the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 on Saturday.