PITTSBURGH (NHL.com) - 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 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.
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.
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.
Price, who allowed five goals on 23 shots, was replaced by Peter 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 Canadiens forward Rene 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.
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.
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.
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.