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Jokinen powers Penguins past Canadiens

by Wes Crosby

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Penguins responded to one of their worst performances of the season with one of their best.

Jussi Jokinen scored two goals to lead the Penguins to a 5-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday at Consol Energy Center, two days after Pittsburgh lost by the same score to the Florida Panthers.

Pittsburgh led 2-1 after one period, but blew the game open with three second-period goals and coasted from there. The Canadiens lost for the fourth time in six games.

Jokinen's second goal of the game gave Pittsburgh a two-goal lead at 5:46 into the second. James Neal collected the puck near the blue line and tapped a pass to defenseman Olli Maatta. He sent a cross-ice pass to Jokinen, who rifled a wrist shot past Carey Price for his 15th goal of the season.

"I think if you ask any goalie, if you can shoot the puck, one-time a puck, it's always harder to stop," Jokinen said. "The guys were making good plays and good passes for me, so I get the one-time the puck for a goal."

Sidney Crosby scored his team-leading 26th goal at 11:43 to stretch the Penguins' lead to three goals. Crosby banked a slap shot from Kris Letang past Price from the left of the net for a power-play goal.

"[Pittsburgh] was hungry to play," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "When you're facing a team like that and you give them an opportunity to put their power play on the ice and we took some bad penalties and it will hurt you."

Pittsburgh's power-play, which scored on two of its five opportunities Wednesday, has converted on a League-leading 24.7 percent of its chances.

Evgeni Malkin scored Pittsburgh's third goal of the period 3:20 later. Malkin drove past Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban to the net before wrapping the puck around Price's right pad for his 13th goal of the season and a 5-1 lead.

"You can't let Malkin carry the puck like that up the ice," Canadiens forward Rene Bourque said. "It looked like he was playing a video game out there every time he went around us."

Price, who allowed five goals on 23 shots, was replaced by Budaj after Malkin's goal. Budaj stopped all 10 shots faced, but his most memorable moment had nothing to do with making a save.

The Penguins held a four-goal lead with 5:10 remaining in the third period when Bourque shoved Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik into goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. A scrum took place in Pittsburgh's crease while Budaj motioned to Fleury. The goalies charged toward each other, but the officials restrained them and each received a minor penalty for leaving the crease.

"It was nothing personal with Fleury," Budaj said. "I heard he's a nice goalie. There was a scrum on the ice, we were losing 5-1 and guys are showing heart in a disappointing night for us. Props to him that he wanted to do it."

Fleury finished with 23 saves, allowing only Bourque's first-period goal, after surrendering five goals Monday for the third time in nine games.

After having their 13-game home winning streak snapped by Florida, the Penguins got out to a quick 2-0 lead against Montreal.

Malkin set up Jokinen's first goal by driving past two Canadiens at the blue line and delivering a backhand pass through Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov to Jokinen in front of the net. Price was out of position after committing to a shot fake by Malkin, and Jokinen wristed a shot into an open net past a diving Price 8:48 into the game.

"One thing [Jokinen] has brought to our team is just the intelligence," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "Tonight, great examples of that. He came out big for us in a lot of ways, scoring some goals here for us. To have his 14th and 15th goals for us, it's secondary scoring and it's been big for us."

The Penguins struck again at 16:25. On Pittsburgh's second power-play opportunity, Taylor Pyatt deflected a slap shot from Matt Niskanen past Price for his second goal of the season and a 2-0 lead.

"We didn't belong with that team the first two periods and we weren't ready to play," Bourque said. "We fed their power play too many times. Obviously, with skill like that, that'll happen to you."

Bourque appeared to cut the deficit in half 1:15 later after shooting a pass from Daniel Briere past Fleury, but play continued. The play was reviewed during the next stoppage and Bourque was credited with a goal after it was ruled his shot hit the camera inside the net.

But that was the only shot to beat Fleury. Pittsburgh's defense made it difficult for the Montreal forwards to get shots on net by crowding around Fleury and pressuring the puck.

"We definitely buckled down, especially defensively," Crosby said. "Didn't give them a ton and when we did Flower made some great saves and we generated some good chances and capitalized on them. It was a good game to respond."

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