|PIT||0||1||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|MTL||1||2||1||(0 - 0)||4|
MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens are running out of time to put a winning streak together before the upcoming holiday break.
Saku Koivu and Sheldon Souray had a goal and an assist apiece, and Jose Theodore made 16 saves to lead Montreal to a 4-1 win Monday night over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Canadiens haven't earned consecutive wins in two months. They will have a chance for their first winning streak since Oct. 20-23 on Tuesday in Washington.
"We've got a chance before the Christmas break to put two wins together, which we haven't done in a really long time," Souray said. "It was a tough win tonight and we got it, and now we can look forward to (Tuesday), and those points are just as huge."
Pierre Dagenais and Niklas Sundstrom also scored for the Canadiens, who have just four losses in 15 games (8-4-3).
"We're doing the little things a lot better now than we did at the beginning of the year," Koivu said. "We're more consistent in our defensive play and our goaltenders are playing great.
"And at the beginning we had problems with our penalty killing and our power play, and those things are working for us right now, and that's a big part of today's game."
Tomas Surovy scored for Pittsburgh, which was outshot 37-17. The Penguins, last in the Eastern Conference, are winless in three (0-2-0-1).
"For a lot of games this year, we've really given up a lot of shots," Penguins center Brian Holzinger said. We're not happy with the amount of shots that we gave up here tonight, obviously. When we're playing at our best, we're playing good solid defense and limiting those shots and trying to capitalize on the offensive opportunities we get."
Koivu set up Dagenais' power-play goal in the first period before giving Montreal a 2-0 lead 8:47 into the second with his sixth goal of the season.
Souray, who assisted on Koivu's goal, got his team-leading 12th at 14:42, just 1:26 after Surovy drew Pittsburgh within 2-1 with his fourth at 13:16.
Penguins coach Ed Olczyk was furious after Koivu's goal gave the Canadiens their first two-goal lead.
Though his reason wasn't readily apparent, the first-year coach stood atop his team's bench and screamed at referees Stephane Auger and Ian Walsh after Koivu beat goalie Sebastien Caron from the left edge of the crease, shortly after a faceoff in Pittsburgh's zone.
"It had nothing to do with what happened on that goal at all," Olczyk said.
When asked if the reason was an icing call that led to the faceoff, Olczyk replied, "I'm not going to comment on that."
The Penguins were assessed a bench minor following the second period.
"I'm not really sure what was going on there," Holzinger said. "Obviously starting the third period with a penalty certainly hurt us, but Eddie's a competitive guy and he wants his team to win, and if he doesn't agree with something, he's going to let people know."
Dagenais got his fourth goal 15:05 in when he took Koivu's pass and fired a shot over Caron's left shoulder into the top of the net.
After Koivu's goal sparked Olczyk's ire, Surovy drew Pittsburgh to within one when he completed a fine passing play. Rookie Ryan Malone made a back pass to Holzinger in the slot. Holzinger fed Surovy, who fired a shot into the open left side.
"We were able to really get a 2-on-0 in front of the net on Theodore, so we'll take that any day," Holzinger said.
Souray, who leads NHL defensemen in goals, restored the Canadiens' two-goal lead on a pass from Benoit Gratton.
Sundstrom scored into an empty net with 1:59 remaining.
|PPG - Pierre Dagenais Snap shot - ASST: Saku Koivu|
1 - 0 MTL
|Saku Koivu Slapshot - ASST: Sheldon Souray , Michael Ryder|
2 - 0 MTL
|Tomas Surovy Wrist shot - ASST: Brian Holzinger , Ryan Malone|
2 - 1 MTL
|Sheldon Souray Wrist shot - ASST: Benoit Gratton|
3 - 1 MTL
|EN - Niklas Sundstrom Wrist shot - ASST: Mike Ribeiro , Andrei Markov|
4 - 1 MTL
|Aleksey Morozov Hooking - Obstruction against Saku Koivu|
|Rico Fata Interference on goalkeeper against Jose Theodore|
|Benoit Gratton Interference on goalkeeper against Josef Melichar|
|Ryan Malone Holding the stick against Francis Bouillon|
|Aleksey Morozov Abusive language - bench|
|Craig Rivet Roughing against Brian Holzinger|
|Richard Zednik Hooking against Matt Bradley|
|Brian Holzinger Hi-sticking|
|SA: 36||TOI: 59:27|
|Saves: 33||EV: 28 - 30|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 5|
|SV%: .917||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 17||TOI: 59:59|
|Saves: 16||EV: 14 - 15|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 2|
|SV%: .941||SH: 0 - 0|