PITTSBURGH -- The Montreal Canadiens prefer to rely on defense and goaltending to win games. However, they showed Thursday night that they can win run-and-gun games as well.
David Desharnais scored the only goal in the shootout and the Canadiens overcame four one-goal deficits to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-5 at Consol Energy Center.
Desharnais deked to his right and stretched his stick back to the left to wrap the puck around Marc-Andre Fleury's right pad for the lone goal in the tiebreaker. Peter Budaj ended the game by stopping a slap shot by Evgeni Malkin in the third round.
Montreal wanted to avoid a high-scoring game against the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins, but Desharnais said they are confident they can win that way if they have to.
"It seems to be that way against them a lot," Desharnais said. "The open the play a lot and you don't want to play that way against these guys. They have way too much skill and we got lucky today, but it's fun to play that game once in a while too."
The Canadiens rebounded from a 2-1 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. Forward Daniel Briere said his team doesn't want to rely on scoring six goals to win, but he's satisfied with earning three out of four points in a two-day span.
"It's a fun way to win a game," Briere said. "I'm sure the coaches won't like that, all the goals scored against, but it's good for us and I know it sounds cliché, but what matters is we get a win. Our schedule is not easy. To come in here in Pittsburgh and get two points, that's huge for us."
Montreal forced overtime when Briere scored a power-play goal with 5:54 remaining in regulation. Penguins forward Tanner Glass was ejected after elbowing Alexei Emelin and Montreal was awarded a five-minute power play. Briere scored his second goal of the game by banking the puck off defenseman Olli Maatta's skate and past Marc-Andre Fleury.
Glass said he understood why the penalty was called, but disagreed with its timing. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he thought it was an incorrect call but did not fault the referee.
"I have seen the replay; unfortunately for the referee I think, he doesn't get to see the replay," Bylsma said. "The Montreal player, Emelin, has his stick in front of his face when Tanner hits him and his stick comes back and smacks him in the helmet.
"We gave up the goal there and still had a substantial amount of time to kill off and I thought we did a good job there."
Budaj started and was backed up by minor-league callup Dustin Tokarski. Carey Price, who led Canada to the gold medal at the Sochi Olympics, aggravated a lower-body injury during the morning skate and didn't dress.
Crosby scored his team-leading 29th goal of the season on Pittsburgh's fifth power-play opportunity of the game to put Pittsburgh up 5-4 with 7:21 remaining. Budaj stopped Malkin's slap shot, but Crosby fired home the rebound.
Brandon Sutter scored on a shorthanded breakaway 7:16 into the third to put Pittsburgh up 4-3.
After Malkin was called for slashing Budaj, Sutter stripped P.K. Subban of the puck near Montreal's blue line and held the puck on his forehand before switching to his backhand and firing a shot over Budaj's right pad. But Emelin beat Fleury with a wrister 24 seconds later to get the Canadiens even again.
Pittsburgh led 2-1 after one period, but Briere tied the game 6:17 into the second. Josh Gorges banked a pass off the end boards to Briere, who drifted backward and fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of an out-of-position Fleury.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was impressed with the play of Briere, who has struggled for much of the season.
"We made some adjustments and Danny made a good game," Therrien said. "I really liked the way he produced tonight, for sure."
Pittsburgh went back in front at 10:38. With Montreal's Lars Eller in the penalty box for hooking, Maatta slapped a shot from the point past Budaj. Jokinen assisted on the goal for his 400th career point.
Montreal got a power-play goal of its own 57 seconds later to make it 3-3 when Max Pacioretty one-timed a feed from Desharnais past Fleury for his team-leading 27th goal of the season.
Montreal's Brendan Gallagher opened the scoring 4:57 into the game with his 15th goal of the season, tucking a deflected puck past Fleury's left pad.
Pittsburgh tied it 3:26 later when Malkin carried the puck into Montreal's end and sent a pass between Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban in the left circle to James Neal, who wristed a shot past Budaj for his 300th career point. Deryk Engelland's slap shot beat Budaj at 15:48 to make it 2-1.
But the Penguins could not hold a lead throughout the ensuing two periods, which resulted in their second consecutive shootout loss after not losing a tiebreaker in two years.
"I expected better," Fleury said. "Give up five goals and in the shootout, I wasn't in the right spot. I was crooked, not square. I don't know, just disappointing."