PITTSBURGH (AP) — Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais scored early in the first period and the Montreal Canadiens went on to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
Tom Gilbert and Alexei Emelin also scored for the Canadiens and Carey Price stopped 30 shots for his 22nd win of the season. Montreal won its seventh straight and fifth in a row on the road to move into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Pacioretty, who finished with a goal and an assist, and Desharnais scored in the first 7 minutes of regulation. Gilbert added a goal in the second period, and Emelin put it out of reach in the third.
Montreal improved to 9-2 against Metropolitan Division clubs.
David Perron, acquired from Edmonton the previous day, scored in his first game with the Penguins, who had won two games in a row.
Montreal took a 1-0 lead at 2:30 of the first period as Pacioretty collected the rebound of a blocked shot at the right edge of the slot and guided the puck through three bodies in front of the net and past Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who appeared to be jostled out of position.
Desharnais launched a shot from the right circle that glanced off Fleury’s blocker and in for a 2-0 Canadiens lead at 6:35.
Perron, playing left wing on a line with Sidney Crosby and Steve Downie, pulled the Penguins to 2-1 at 9:59 of the first period. Crosby, from low in the right circle, fed Perron, whose one-timer from the upper left hashmark slid along the ice and went in off Price’s right skate.
As penalties that left the teams skating 4-on-4 expired, Gilbert came out of the penalty box and got behind Pittsburgh’s defense. He was alone in the slot when he took a feed from Pacioretty and beat Fleury for a 3-1 Canadiens lead at 1:49 of the second period.
Emelin scored from the top of the slot with Fleury screened to make it 4-1 at 14:08 of the third.
Fleury had been 11-2-1 in his previous 14 home starts against his hometown Canadiens, including a 27-save, 4-0 shutout win Nov. 18.
NOTES: Montreal is 16-0 when scoring first. … This was the 200th regular-season meeting between the clubs. … Montreal winger P.A. Parenteau did not play after being injured a night earlier in New Jersey. Manny Malhotra played after being scratched the previous two games. … The Penguins continue to have a long injury list: forwards Pascal Dupuis, Blake Comeau, Patric Hornqvist and Zach Sill, and defensemen Olli Maatta and Paul Martin. Martin could return Wednesday when Boston visits Pittsburgh.
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