MONTREAL — Corey Crawford made 48 saves for his 25th NHL shutout, and the Chicago Blackhawks won their fifth straight, 2-0 against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday.
Chicago, which won seven straight from Jan. 20-Feb. 10, moved five points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Coyotes lost to the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime Saturday.
“I thought we played really well, and even though they were coming with pressure at the end, we didn’t panic,” Crawford said. “We kept things to the outside and then waited for pucks to come into the middle and break it out, so that was great by us not to lose our cool at the end.”
Crawford, a Montreal native, got his second shutout of the season to win his fifth straight start. He is 9-2-2 with two shutouts in 13 games against the Canadiens.
His 48 saves tied the most by a Blackhawks goalie in a shutout set by Dave Dryden in a 3-0 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 15, 1969.
“He was excellent,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. “That’s what he can do, and obviously it is in Montreal and he’s pretty comfortable here, had a lot of success here, so he had a lot of confidence and it gives the team a lot of confidence that he’s going to come through for us.”
Connor Murphy and Brendan Perlini scored, and Alex DeBrincat had two assists for the Blackhawks (32-30-9), who went 1-4-0 in the five games that preceded their second-longest winning streak of the season.
“[Crawford] was unbelievable,” Murphy said. “A couple of those saves, even in tight, they had a rebound right in front of them and it seemed like he almost tracked it into his glove, it was that good. And some of those saves seemed impossible, but that’s why we’re happy to have him.”
Carey Price made 22 saves for the Canadiens (37-28-7), who have lost four of five and are 6-10-1 in the past 17 games.
“I thought we played very well,” Price said. “I thought we definitely gave it a great effort and obviously Crawford played very well.”
Montreal is three points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets lost 2-1 in overtime at the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
“Our backs are against the wall so we’ve got to win games, got to find a way to win,” Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber said.
Murphy made it 1-0 with his fourth goal at 3:04 of the second period. He drove the slot and scored on a wrist shot after receiving Dylan Strome‘s pass off his left skate.
“He’s scored some big goals for us this year,” Colliton said. “His identity is probably more of a defensive player but he’s jumped in at the right time and he’s finished and had a couple of nice goals for us, so I’m happy for him because he does a lot of the dirty work for us.”
Perlini, who had three points in each of his previous two games, scored his 13th goal at 4:49 of the third to make it 2-0. He has seven points (five goals, two assists) in three games, and 10 points (eight goals, two assists) in seven games.
They said it
“We’ve improved a lot, and as the year’s gone on I think we’re going to continue to improve. There’s still a lot there, there’s still a lot available to us to build our game. We’re running out of games to make it but I feel like we’re nowhere near where we were in November, December, and we’ve just got to keep going.” — Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton
“It’s desperation time. It’s all about trying to keep that positive attitude and negativity isn’t going to help us at all. There’s no feeling sorry for ourselves so it’s pretty easy to get up [Sunday] and rest and come back to work on Monday. And we’ve got to keep driving.” — Canadiens goalie Carey Price
Need to know
It was the second time this season, and 18th since 1955-56, that a goalie has made at least 48 saves in a shutout. Anton Khudobin of the Dallas Stars made 49 saves in a 2-0 win at the Nashville Predators on Dec. 27, 2018. … Crawford and Tony Esposito are the only Chicago goalies to have multiple shutouts in Montreal. … Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane played his 892nd game, passing Steve Larmer for ninth all-time for Chicago. … DeBrincat has 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in his past 13 games.
Blackhawks: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)
Canadiens: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSP, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)