PITTSBURGH -- Right winger Jussi Jokinen scored twice Wednesday, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at Consol Energy Center.
All six Pittsburgh defenseman also chipped in with at least one assist apiece in the victory.
The Penguins (35-13-2) bounced back from a 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday that snapped their 13-game home unbeaten streak. The Canadiens (27-18-5) allowed five goals in a second consecutive loss, as they fell 5-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
The Penguins struck first at 8:48 of the first period. Center Evgeni Malkin broke through a crowd of stationary Canadiens, taking the puck along the right boards down to the bottom of the faceoff circle. He then swept a backhand pass to Jokinen, who simply pushed the puck into a yawning net for his 14th tally of the season.
Pittsburgh doubled the lead on its second power-play opportunity. With the NHL's top power play at work, defenseman Matt Niskanen unloaded a cannon of a shot from the blue line that was tipped by left winger Taylor Pyatt, who positioned his 6-foot-4 frame in front of the net, screening Montreal goaltender Carey Price. The puck deflected up and over the pads of Price at 16:25 of the first for Pyatt's second of the season.
The Canadiens cracked the scoreboard 17:40 into the first when right winger Rene Bourque snuck in behind an unsuspecting Niskanen and tipped in a pass from center Daniel Briere. The referee initially waived off the goal, saying the puck did not enter the net, and play continued. However, at the next stoppage the play was reviewed, and it clearly showed that the puck entered the net.
Any optimism Montreal gained with the late goal in the first was quelled in the second, as the Penguins scored three times in the frame to take a four-goal lead.
First, Jokinen struck again at 5:46. Left winger James Neal banked a pass off of the left boards to defenseman Olli Maatta. Maatta initially faked as if he would one-time the pass on net, but instead he sent a quick cross-ice pass to Jokinen, who dropped to one knee and one-timed the puck from the right-wing faceoff dot. While he didn't get all of the shot, he got enough of it for it to flutter over the glove of Price.
The Penguins pushed their advantage to 4-1 at 11:43 while working on their third power play of the game. Defenseman Kris Letang fired a shot from the left point that was masterfully deflected by center Sidney Crosby, who was positioned near the left post. The goal, Crosby's 26th of the season, gave him at least one point in 20 of his 24 appearances against the Canadiens, including at least one point in all 13 career home games versus Montreal.
The goal that chased Price from the game came off the stick of Malkin. The Penguins center corralled the puck at the red line and busted down the right wing, pushing a shot on net, grabbing his own rebound and then shoveling it past a down-and-out Price. Backup netminder Peter Budaj entered in relief, and he stopped all 10 shots he faced.
Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves for his league-leading 28th victory. Price suffered the loss making 16 saves in less than two periods of work.
The game took a nasty turn with 5:10 left in the third when a donnybrook broke out in front of the Pittsburgh net. The goaltenders even tried to fight, but the linesmen intercepted the two at center ice before they could engage in fisticuffs. Thirty minutes in penalties eventually were handed out.
NOTES: The game marked the first half of what will be the Penguins' 10th set of 17 back-to-back games this season. The Penguins will travel to New York to take on the Islanders on Thursday. ... Montreal will complete its 10th set of 17 back-to-back games Friday at Detroit and Saturday versus Washington. ... The Penguins have lost 303 man-games to injury this season. The Canadiens have lost 168 man-games to injury. ... Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin is three games shy of 500 for his career. ... Montreal G Carey Price is one win shy of taking sole possession of sixth place in team history, ahead of George Hainsworth. ... Scratches for the Penguins were C Zach Sill and D Robert Bortuzzo. Scratches for the Canadiens were RW George Parros, D Raphael Diaz (illness) and D Alexei Emelin. ... The official attendance was 18,617, Pittsburgh's 311th consecutive sellout. The Canadiens have sold out 385 consecutive home games.