RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Montreal Canadiens liked their response in two respects Thursday night.
They recovered from their first loss in regulation in nearly a month and then they regrouped from a rough stretch in the middle of the game.
"We had a lot of momentum and then we had that second period," left wing Brandon Prust said. "We kind of knew we were going to come back."
The Canadiens converted in the third period, scoring two goals in a two-minute span to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 in a matchup of division leaders at PNC Arena.
Lars Eller scored on a cross-ice pass from Josh Gorges to break a 2-2 tie with 13:51 remaining. Less than two minutes later, P.K. Subban found the net on a power play.
That spelled the end of Carolina's four-game winning streak.
Montreal goalie Carey Price stopped 42 shots to earn the win.
The Canadiens (15-5-4), who have 34 points to lead the Eastern Conference, were coming off a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders.
"We responded the right way and it was a good win for us," Georges said. "A character (win). It was, 'How do we respond?' We caught ourselves and did a good job."
Prust and Gorges scored in the first period for the Canadiens, who improved to 7-2-2 on the road. Eller and Prust finished with two assists apiece.
"It by far wasn't one of my better games, but the puck goes in for you sometimes," Prust said.
The Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes (13-9-1) scored twice in a 4 1/2-minute span of the second period to pull even on goals by Jordan Staal and Drayson Bowman. They whiffed on a power play and that hindered their surge.
"We couldn't get a bounce or a break," center Eric Staal said. "The opportunities were there."
Carolina goalie Justin Peters, in his second game since he was called up from Charlotte of the American Hockey League, finished with 24 saves.
The Canadiens were thrilled with the offense supplied by players who haven't been primary scores of production.
"We have different guys come and contribute and I think that's good," Eller said.
The Hurricanes were most stung by Montreal's quick strikes in the third period.
"It's tough to give up those and to come back against a team like that," Jordan Staal said. "We need to get that spark on power plays."
Prust collected a rebound and slid the puck under Peters for the game's opening goal.
Gorges skated alone through the slot and took Prust's pass, depositing it for a goal and a 2-0 lead less than 8 1/2 minutes into the game. It was Georges' second goal of the season and his first in 21 games.
Jordan Staal converted when the puck made it through traffic and past Price, Carolina's first goal in more than 86 minutes this season against Montreal.
Bowman was next, sending a blast past Price from a tough angle. That play resulted in an assist for Jeremy Welsh, who collected his first NHL point.
The game remained knotted at 2-2 when Price stopped Eric Staal on a second-period penalty shot after Yannick Weber disrupted the Carolina captain from behind on a short-handed breakaway.
The penalty shot was the first attempted by the Hurricanes this season.
The Hurricanes outshot Montreal 21-5 in the second period, 44-28 for the game.
NOTES: Montreal defenseman Francis Bouillon played in 700th career NHL game. He's in his 13th season, with 10 seasons with the Canadiens. ... Montreal defenseman Tomas Kaberle, a Hurricane at the start of last season, was scratched after playing in the previous four games, though he was minus-2 Tuesday night at the New York Islanders. ... Tempers flared when Montreal's Weber drilled Carolina's Jeff Skinner, who a week earlier returned from a concussion. The sequence resulted in an interference penalty on Weber with 6:40 remaining in the first period and an ensuing roughing penalty on Carolina's Jordan Staal. ... Goalie Dan Ellis remains bothered by illness, so he served as the Carolina backup again. Teammate Riley Nash left the morning skate because he was sick. That meant Welsh was called up from Charlotte and put into the lineup. ... The Hurricanes placed center Tim Brent (upper body) on injured reserve. ... The Canadiens are three games into a season-long five-game road trip. The entire trip takes place across eight days.
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