The pro-Canadiens crowd in Quebec had plenty to cheer about; Montreal scored four times in the first period on the way to a rout.
Greg Pateryn's point shot and Alex Galchenyuk's rebound beat Cam Ward in a 26-second span to put Montreal ahead 2-0 before the game was four minutes old. David Desharnais and Michael Bournival also beat Ward in the opening period.
P.K. Subban added a power-play goal in the second period, and Max Pacioretty scored on a third-period penalty shot.
"The young players seized the opportunity to show what they can do," coach Michel Therrien said. "But it was the veterans who set the tone of the game and that's positive."
Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski combined for the shutout. The teams play again Saturday in Montreal, ending a stretch of four games in four nights for the Carolina Hurricanes.
"Montreal came ready to play. They skate well, they worked hard," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "We just weren't ready to play a game at this time of year. We've got a game tomorrow night. There's going to be a sellout crowd and we've got to be ready to play."