RALEIGH, N.C. -- The second game in the Carolina Hurricanes' eight-game homestand was as tight as the first.
The Hurricanes topped the Montreal Canadiens, 2-0, Thursday at PNC Arena as defenseman Brett Pesce and forward Brock McGinn scored goals, goalie Cam Ward was rock-solid in net with 27 saves and the Canes' team defense sound.
The Canes (24-19-8), fighting to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff chase, now have 56 points after their third straight win. They went into the game two points out of playoff position.
On Tuesday, the Canes used third-period goals from Sebastian Aho and Victor Rask to squeeze past the Ottawa Senators 2-1. A week after a 6-5 shootout in Montreal, the Canes winning, the two teams were locked up in a 1-0 game -- the Canes ahead -- in the third period Thursday.
Pesce scored in the second period and McGinn eased the tension for the Canes by beating Habs goalie Carey Price in the third as the Canes swept the Habs this season.
Ward finished with 27 saves in his second shutout of the season and 27th of his career.
Pesce's goal was his first since Jan. 14, 2017, when he scored against the New York Islanders. He had gone 81 games without a goal -- the final 39 last season, the first 42 this season.
But Pesce's shot from the right point got past Price. The Canes had the lead.
Neither team had many scoring chances in the first period and the Habs did not have a shot on goal until 5:12 was left, when Victor Mete finally challenged Ward.
While the Canes' defensive-zone work was too loose in the game in Montreal, they did a better job fighting for the puck and moving the puck Thursday. Rookie Haydn Fleury played perhaps his best game of the season, blocking shots and giving the Canes physical play.
And Pesce. He gave the Canes a goal, the seventh of his career in 194 games.
When the Canes beat the Senators, much of the pregame conversation centered on a decision by Canes team owner Tom Dundon to allow fans with upper-deck tickets to move to the lower levels, a novel approach to seating. That game had a turnout of 11,448.
There was no repeat of that seating strategy Thursday and the attendance was 11,953. The Canes are expecting a near-sellout crowd Friday at PNC Arena for the Detroit Red Wings.
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