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Penguins rally in third, top Canadiens in shootout

by Wes Crosby /

PITTSBURGH -- Two backhand goals in the shootout gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 comeback win against the Montreal Canadiens at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.

David Perron sent a backhand over Montreal goalie Mike Condon, who participated in his first NHL shootout, then Sidney Crosby followed with a backhand goal of his own. Marc-Andre Fleury successfully poke-checked Alex Galchenyuk then stacked his pads to stop David Desharnais.

A wrist shot from Pittsburgh forward Patric Hornqvist tied the game 3-3 with 6:25 remaining in the third period after the Penguins allowed two goals while recording one shot on goal in the second.

Pittsburgh (10-5-0) ended a streak of 37 consecutive losses when it trailed entering the third period.

"Comebacks are important, especially against a team like Montreal," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "They're very steady. They just have a straight line as they play the game from start to finish. That's why they've been so good.

"I'm happy about the win, but I didn't like our second period. I thought that second period stands out to me. We just cannot play that way. We have to get that out of our game."

Montreal (13-2-2) failed to get a second win this season at Consol Energy Center. The Canadiens defeated the Penguins 3-2 on Oct. 13.

"At one point, the shots were 30-15 and we were taking it to them," Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said. "We have to realize that everybody's gunning for us and we're going to have to play a full 60 minutes to beat any team, and going into the third period we had the score that we wanted. We didn't get the result out of it. We have to try to put teams away, but things happen."

Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher tied the game 2-2, after a puck deflected off the inside of Penguins defenseman Ian Cole's right skate to send Gallagher on a 2-on-1. He fired a snap shot past Fleury 7:47 into the second period.

Brian Flynn gave the Canadiens a 3-2 lead with 5:48 remaining. Montreal outshot Pittsburgh 13-1 in the period.

"We could tell they were frustrated in the second because we were playing the right way," Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty said. "We're a tough team to play against when we get pucks deep, but if we're a step behind, then our breakout is much easier than if we come in guns blazing. So that little extra step behind and being a little lackadaisical in the third, maybe sitting back on our heels a little too much, but maybe that might be the difference tonight."

Pascal Dupuis deflected a pass from Crosby past Condon's right pad to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead 13 seconds into the first period. Dupuis missed Pittsburgh's previous two games after being taken to an Edmonton hospital Friday with symptoms that could have stemmed from his history of blood clots.

Dupuis said he never had any doubts about returning.

"It felt great," he said. "Starting lineup. I got a big cheer there. I got a big cheer when I scored, so obviously it gives you chills. It obviously keeps you alive, and it was great to obviously get a big shift right away."

The Canadiens tied it 2:58 later when Subban fed a pass to Andre Markov along the blue line, allowing Markov to one-time a slap shot for a power-play goal.

The Penguins took a 2-1 lead when Phil Kessel sent a shot off teammate Olli Maatta's calf past Condon with 43.8 seconds remaining.

Fleury temporarily exited the game with 4:47 remaining in the first period after taking a stick from Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy that left a cut below his eye. Fleury said the cut worried him because of a similar situation his father experienced.

"[Lovejoy] felt bad a little bit, but that happens I guess," Fleury said. "I was just worried for a [second] because I felt my eye going down. My dad lost an eye to a stick, so I was a little worried. … It did [get swollen] a little bit, but not that bad."

Lovejoy also caused Montreal forward Dale Weise and Gallagher to leave the game after hits, but each returned.

Condon has not lost in regulation during his NHL career. Through his first eight starts, he is 6-0-2.

"It was a good game. [The Penguins] have a lot of skill. They have a lot of speed," Condon said. "We dominated in the second and I thought we played well in the third. A couple bad bounces there and a tough break with the overtime penalty, but that's hockey."

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