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Canadiens hang on to beat Penguins
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Max Pacioretty pumped home two goals to lead the Montreal Canadiens in a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bell Centre.
Pacioretty's second tally came 1:20 after Tomas Plekanec had given the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in the third period.
Carey Price made 29 saves for Montreal, which wound up holding on for the victory after James Neal scored twice for Pittsburgh.
The Canadiens have won three straight and improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games.
"Obviously, winning three games in a row is good for anyone's confidence," said Pacioretty. "Everyone is contributing and it's good for the team's confidence."
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots for the Penguins, who were looking to equal a season high with a fourth consecutive win.
With the teams skating 4-on-4, Plekanec got the puck in the slot off a feed from Andrei Markov and ripped a shot past Fleury at the 1:05 mark.
Pacioretty was then able to get good positioning on defenseman Kris Letang and beat Fleury with a wrister from the right circle at 2:25.
Not long after the goal, Montreal captain Brian Gionta went off for hooking and the Penguins converted on the power play. Evgeni Malkin fed James Neal for a wicked one-timer in the right circle at 5:44.
Malkin set up Neal again, this time after a dazzling rush from behind the Pittsburgh net. Malkin carried into the Montreal zone and dished to Neal, who slipped a backhander past Price with 2:53 remaining.
"Price was the difference," said Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma. "We had some flurries around his net, but he was strong."
Both teams registered 12 first-period shots despite Pittsburgh having a pair of power plays.
Pacioretty capitalized on a turnover to open the scoring. He intercepted rookie defenseman Olli Maatta's pass in the neutral zone, skated into the slot and beat Fleury with a snap shot off the right post 1:53 into the second period.
The Canadiens had a chance to extend their lead, but failed to convert on three straight power plays later in the frame.
Letang, a Montreal native, played in his 400th career NHL game ... The Penguins had gone 6-0-1 in their last seven games against the Canadiens ... Pittsburgh has not allowed a power-play goal in six consecutive road games.
11/23 22:52:59 ET