MONTREAL (AP) Cayden Primeau made 41 saves for his second career shutout as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Brendan Gallagher, Jurai Slafkovsky and Joshua Roy scored for the Canadiens, with all the goals coming in the first 5:48 - and the last one leading to Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins getting pulled.

Merzlikins stopped one of four shots. Daniil Tarasov took over in net for Columbus and made 19 saves.

“There’s been a lot of games this year where we’ve had really good starts and then we come back in the room after the first and it’s been tied or we’re down and it’s almost like we haven’t been rewarded,” Gallagher said.

“If you look at it as a whole, it wasn’t our best period, but we were very opportunistic.”

Both of Primeau's shutouts have come this season. He only needed to make 13 saves when the Canadiens beat Anaheim 5-0 on Feb. 13.

“The guys played so well (during the last shutout) so this one feels like I had a little bit more of a contribution,” Primeau said.

This was only Montreal's second regulation win since, a span of 12 games. Both teams are well out of playoff contention; Columbus has lost three of four and hasn't won more than two consecutive games all season.

Gallagher scored 21 seconds into the game. He found himself alone in front of the net and redirected Jake Evans’ pass into the top corner.

Slafkovsky made it 2-0 on the power play when he fired a one-timer past Merzlikins from the right faceoff dot after a feed from Mike Matheson.

Roy deflected a shot into the back of the net at 5:48 to end Merzlikins’s night.

Columbus totaled 22 shots in the period, but could not find a way past Primeau.

“I wasn’t expecting that volume (of shots) from Columbus. They were shooting from everywhere,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “We still managed that pretty well, and when something slipped through the cracks, Cayden was there.

“We gave them a bit too many chances with the penalties, but we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot like we have at other times this season.”

The 24-year-old Primeau - now the full-time backup to Sam Montembeault after Montreal traded Jake Allen to the New Jersey Devils on Friday - made an impressive sprawling glove save to steal a goal from Alexandre Texier.

“It’s huge, it feels great,” Primeau said. “There’s still a bunch of games this year so I just want to get ready for the next one. I still try to go into every game the same and be consistent, but I’m definitely excited for the opportunity.”

The Blue Jackets dominated possession in the second period but couldn't find the net, a pattern that continued in the third.


Blue Jackets: Host Ottawa on Thursday night.

Canadiens: Host Boston on Thursday night.



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