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Hamrlik's goal, assist propel Canadiens to 4-2 victory over Penguins

NHL.com @NHL

MONTREAL - Roman Hamrlik scored for the first time since early October and added an assist to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 victory over the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

Christopher Higgins, Maxim Lapierre and Andrei Kostitsyn also scored for the Canadiens (29-16-6), who won for the second time in three games following a season-high four-game losing streak.

Rookie Luka Caputi scored on his first career NHL shift and Evgeni Malkin added another for the Penguins (24-23-5), who have one win in their last five contests and remain in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Malkin scored in a third straight game and extended his points streak to five games.

Higgins scored shorthanded in the second period to give Montreal nine goals playing down a man this season, tied for second in the league with the New York Islanders.

Carey Price made 23 saves for the Canadiens while his Penguins counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 31 shots at the other end.

Injuries forced Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau to re-assemble last year's top line of Alex Kovalev with Tomas Plekanec and Kostitsyn, and the trio combined to provide the Canadiens with the insurance goal in the third period. Kovalev was benched for all but three shifts in the third period of Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, but was used regularly throughout Tuesday's game.

With the score tied 1-1 in the second, Montreal took control with two goals to enter the third period with a 3-1 lead.

Higgins got it started on the penalty kill when he pounced on a Kristopher Letang turnover at the Montreal blue-line to go in alone on Fleury, beating him with a snap shot high on the glove side for his seventh of the year at 11:05.

Max Pacioretty then won a battle for a puck behind the net with Alex Goligoski and fed Lapierre in front for his 10th of the year at 15:07.

The Penguins power play entered the game with the worst road percentage in the league at 12.2 per cent, but it got Pittsburgh to within a goal in the third.

Malkin came off the boards and let go of a wrist shot from the circle that dribbled through Price's pads for his 22nd of the season at 10:33 of the final frame to make it 3-2 Habs.

But Kostitsyn scored his 18th of the year at 15:45 to ice it, completing a nice passing play from Plekanec and Kovalev for an easy tap-in goal to make it 4-2 Canadiens.

Caputi, a Toronto native, didn't take long to get his NHL career off to a good start and give the Penguins a brief lead. Moments after jumping on the ice for his first career shift Caputi found himself on a 2-on-1 break. He kept the puck and tried a backhand, but Price couldn't control the rebound and Caputi eventually shovelled it home at 2:30 of the first.

The Canadiens tied it 1-1just over two minutes later when Fleury lost the puck behind the net to Sergei Kostitsyn, who fed it to Hamrlik in front for his third of the year and first in 47 games at 4:31.

Notes: The Canadiens latest additions to the injured list were out of action as winger Guillaume Latendresse (upper body) and D Patrice Brisebois (lower body) didn't dress. They join wingers Georges Laraque and Alex Tanguay, C Robert Lang and D Mathieu Dandenault on the injured list. ...Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy sat out his one-game suspension for coming off the bench to fight Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn on Saturday, while defencemen Philippe Boucher and Hal Gill were healthy scratches. ...The Penguins have some interesting consistency this season. Before Tuesday's game, the Pens had a 12-11-2 record at home and a 12-11-3 record on the road. Also, they posted identical 5-8-1 records in both December and January

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