FLEURY DENIES CANADIENS IN SHOOTOUT AS PENGUINS WIN, 5-4
Marc-Andre Fleury turned in another solid effort as he turned away Tomas Plekanec in the overtime shootout to give the Penguins a 5-4 victory Thursday night at Mellon Arena.
The triumph pushed the win streak to five for the Penguins (25-17-8).
"It was just good to get the win. I am happy to beat Montreal," Fleury said. "It was a big point. We need all those points to make sure we're still in the race."
Montreal fought back from a two-goal deficit in the third period to knot the game at 4-all at the end of regulation. However, Fleury made a big stop at the horn and turned aside all seven shots he faced in OT.
In the shootout, Erik Christensen and Evgeni Malkin beat David Aebischer, while Alexei Kovalev tallied for the Canadiens. However, Fleury stopped Chris Higgins and Plekanec to seal the win.
"It's always tough when you play with the lead pretty much the whole game and then they tied it," Fleury said. "It was a pretty tough game. Our guys played pretty tough, so it was a good game. I knew there were some good shooters out there in the shootout. I am just glad I was able to make the saves."
Malkin got the Penguins on the scoreboard with 1:41 left in the first period. Sidney Crosby fed a pass to Sergei Gonchar near the blue line. He rifled a one-timer to the net and Malkin deflected it past Aebischer for a power-play goal.
Gonchar fired a puck past Aebischer with 11:20 left in the second period. On a two-man advantage, Malkin sent the puck across to the near point to Gonchar. He fired a puck into the net. Crosby added an assist on the play.
Radek Bonk got a short-handed goal past Fleury with 9:25 left in the period.
Gonchar ripped another power-play goal into the net 1:03 later. Ryan Whitney fed a pass to Crosby along the near boards. He, in turn, fired a pass back to Gonchar just inside the blue line. He sizzled the puck into the goal for a 3-1 Penguins lead.
Bonk deflected a shot past Fleury with 2:47 left in the period to slice the deficit to 3-2.
Christensen roofed a shot past Aebischer 9:09 into the third period for a 4-2 Penguins lead. Max Talbot and Colby Armstrong assisted on the goal.
Mike Johnson deflected a shot past Fleury for a short-handed goal with 5:31 left in regulation.
Mathieu Dandenault knotted the game at 4-all with 2:29 to go when his shot deflected off two Penguins and trickled into the goal.
Fleury stopped 40 of 44 shots to earn the win in goal for Pittsburgh.
ICE CHIPS: Janne Niinimaa, Alexander Perezhogin and Aaron Downey were the Canadiens' scratches...Chris Thorburn was the Penguins' scratch...Mark Recchi was presented with a crystal bowl commemorating his 500th NHL goal from Penguins GM Ray Shero before the game...The announced attendance was 17,321 - a standing room-only sellout...Sergei Gonchar (No. 1), Radek Bonk (No. 2) and Evgeni Malkin (No. 3) were the game's three stars.