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Recap: Pens 5, Habs 1

The Pittsburgh Penguins get back to their winning ways with a 5-1 beating of the Montreal Canadiens.

Justin K. Aller

The Pittsburgh Penguins got back to their winning ways on Wednesday, dropping the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. Atoning for a poor performance the last time out, the Pens rocketed out the gates with two first period goals and never looked back.

Jussi Jokinen struck first, converting a really sweet pass from Evgeni Malkin for the game's opening goal. Then Taylor Pyatt posted up in front of the net in a power play and tipped a Matt Niskanen shot in for a 2-0 lead. Montreal would pull back within one before the end of the first but they'd get no closer. Jokinen, Sidney Crosby and Malkin all scored in the second period and the Pens coasted home the rest of the way.

A few more thoughts, courtesy of Penguins PR:

  • The Penguins earned their Eastern Conference leading 35th win. Their 21 home wins are most in the NHL.

  • Tonight, all 6 Penguins defensemen recorded assists, with the group combining for 7 total. Matt Niskanen had 2 assists and the other 5 D-men finished with 1 each.

  • The Penguins are 26-2-1 when scoring first. They are 17-0 when doing so at CONSOL Energy Center.

  • The Penguins now have won 5 straight against Montreal at home and are 8-2 over their last 10 games against the Canadiens in Pittsburgh.

  • The Penguins successfully killed off all 3 Montreal power plays tonight. Pittsburgh has a league leading kill rate of 87.5% (133-for-152).

  • Tonight’s perfect performance on the penalty kill marked the 7th straight game that Pittsburgh’s PK has been perfect at home – a season-long streak.

  • Pittsburgh finished 2-for-5 on the odd-man advantage to increase their league-leading power-play percentage to 24.7% (41-for-166). This ends a streak that saw the Penguins go just 1-for-15 in the 5 previous games.

Player Notes:

  • Jussi Jokinen scored his 14th and15th goals of the season. Jokinen now has 13 points in his last 11 games (6G-7A). This is Jokinen’s third multi-goal game of the season – all of which have come at home.

  • Marc-Andre Fleury has a NHL leading 28 wins. His 18 home wins also rank 1st among all goaltenders. Fleury is 10-5 in his career at home vs. Montreal.

  • Sidney Crosby tallied his 26th goal of the season to give him a league-leading 69 points. Crosby has at least one point in all 13 home games he has played against the Canadiens in his career.

  • Chris Kunitz’s assist on Crosby’s goal was his 50th point on the season. Kunitz has reached the 50-point mark 6 times in his career. Kunitz now has 29 points in his last 25 games (13G-16A).

  • Evgeni Malkin earned his second point tonight with his 13th goal this season. Malkin is now 3 points shy of tying Ron Francis for fifth place on the Penguins all-time points list (613).

  • Malkin has 40 points (10G-30A) over his past 26 games and at least 1 point in 23 of those 26 games.

  • Taylor Pyatt scored his 2nd goal of the season on the power play. Pyatt has scored both of his goals this season in the last three games. The goal is Pyatt’s first on the power play since Jan. 24, 2013 as a member of the New York Rangers.

  • Matt Niskanen assisted on the Jokinen and Pyatt goals. The assists extend his point streak to 5 games (2G-5A), tying his career high. Niskanen has reached 20 assists for the second time in his career; his career high of 29 was set in the 2008-09 season. Niskanen leads all Penguin defensemen in points with 28 (7G-21A).

  • Kris Letang earned the assist on Crosby’s power-play tally. Letang has 14 points (2G-12A) in his last 10 games vs. MTL.

  • Olli Maatta’s assist on Jokinen’s goal gives him 5 points (1G-4A) over his last 7 games. Maatta’s 17 points (4G-13A) tie him for 4th in the NHL in scoring among rookie defensemen.

  • James Neal’s earned his 20th assist on Jokinen’s goal. Neal now has 15 points (7G-8A) in his last 10 games.

  • Paul Martin picked up his 10th assist on the Pyatt goal.  Martin now has 6 points in his past 9 games (1G-5A). This assist was Martin’s first since Nov. 23rd versus Montreal.