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NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Montreal

(Saturday, December 16th)

Final Score: Montreal 6, Pittsburgh 3

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Saku Koivu's pair of second-period goals lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bell Center.

Michael Ryder picked up a goal and two assists, Andrei Markov earned two helpers, and Alex Kovalev notched a goal and one assist for the Canadiens, who have won three in a row and four of five. Cristobal Huet stopped 31 shots on the night.

The Habs denied Pittsburgh its first five-game winning streak since a six-game splurge from January 17-26, 2002.

Erik Christensen picked up a goal and an assist, while Evgeni Malkin and Alain Nasreddine tallied for the Penguins, who saw their four-game winning streak come to an end. Sidney Crosby and Mark Recchi picked up one assist each, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots in a losing cause.

Pittsburgh showed no signs of fatigue early on, picking up where they left off from last night's win over the Islanders in a dominant first period, outshooting the Canadiens 17-3.

Malkin scored the first of the night and his 16th of the season at 12:05 of the first, when he knocked home a rebound of Christensen's shot from the right circle.

Ryder tied the game in impressive fashion on the power play with 1:26 left in the period. From the bottom of the left circle, he one-timed Guillaume Latendresse's cross-ice pass, with a laser blast over Fleury's shoulder.

Nasreddine made it 2-1 with one second left in the first on a total lapse in focus by the Canadiens in their own zone.

Sufficiently embarrassed, the Canadiens flipped the script in the middle period, bombarding the Penguins with 23 shots on goal.

Kovalev tied the game on the power play at 9:29, taking a pass from Markov which went from the left point to the right circle, and one-timing it before Fleury could move from post-to-post.

Montreal would forge ahead, 3-2, on a delayed penalty call with 4:10 left, as Koivu picked the far corner off a wrister let go as the Canadiens' captain leaned sideways to accept Ryder's pass from along the goal line.

Souray followed with a 5-on-3 power-play blast from the bottom of the right circle that found its way through a screen in front, and it was 4-2 at 17:25. Koivu's nifty tip from the right side of the crease off Markov's shot with 5.1 seconds left made it 5-2 after 40 minutes.

Pittsburgh opened the third on a power play, but Fleury absolutely robbed Kovalev on a clean shorthanded breakaway with a beautiful glove save, and the momentum shifted back in the Penguins' favor.

Christensen responded to draw the Pens within 5-3, stuffing home Maxime Talbot's feed from behind Huet with 5:07 left in the game, but Maxim Lapierre cancelled that out when he hit the empty net with 21 seconds to go.

Game Notes

Montreal has won six of the last nine meetings between the clubs...The Penguins outscored the opposition 26-15 during their winning streak...Pittsburgh came up empty in seven power-play chances, while Montreal finished 4-of-7 on the night...The Canadiens record for power-play goals in one game is five, last accomplished in February, 1975.

12/16 22:29:51 ET

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