Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson moves in on Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Canucks lose Pettersson to injury; fall 2-0 to Habs

Carey Price makes 33 saves to earn shutout for Montreal

MONTREAL — Carey Price returned from injury to make 33 saves and lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Price picked up his second shutout of the season in his first appearance after missing the last three games with a lower-body injury.

It was a tough night for the Canucks after losing rookie Elias Pettersson to a lower-body injury in the second period.

Pettersson, who was named an All-Star Wednesday, was injured after getting tangled with fellow rookie and Habs forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Pettersson’s right knee was caught between Kotkaniemi’s legs as they both fell to the ice. The Swede stayed down on the ice before getting to his feet and going to the dressing room. He did not return to the game.

No penalty was called on the play.

Pettersson has put himself in rookie-of-the-year conversations with his play this season and his loss would be a big blow to a Vancouver team that’s been plagued with injuries this season.

He currently leads all first-year skaters with 22 goals and 42 points in 37 games and was rookie of the month in October and December.

The 2017 fifth-overall pick earned the award in October despite missing six games with a concussion.

RELATED: Pettersson scores 3 as Canucks beat Senators in OT

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Jordie Benn and Jonathan Drouin supplied the Montreal (22-14-5) offence.

Joel Armia also returned to the Canadiens lineup after missing the last 25 games due to a knee injury. The Finn also picked up an assist in his return.

Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom allowed two goals on 27 shots.

Pettersson had a breakaway opportunity, but the Swede slid into the post and failed to get a shot on Price as the game stayed scoreless for the first 12 minutes of the game.

Benn opened the scoring with his third goal of the season at 11:50 of the first.

Minutes after Pettersson’s injury, Drouin scored his team’s second of the night as he burst up the wing for his 13th of the season.

The Canadiens will play against the Nashville Predators Saturday at Bell Centre, while the Canucks wrap up a six-game road trip against the Toronto Maple Leafs the same night.

NOTES: Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry was awarded the Molson Cup as the team’s player of the month for December.

The Canadian Press

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Montreal Canadiens’ Jordie Benn (8) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Vancouver Canucks during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

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