Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins needed just one mistake by the Montreal Canadiens to come away with a victory.
Crosby scored a power-play goal 3:41 into overtime, lifting the Penguins over the Canadiens 2-1 on Saturday night. Evgeni Malkin also scored for the Penguins, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves.
"We were fortunate to get a power play," Crosby said. "Guys were moving around, and I got a good look there. It was a great pass from Geno (Malkin)."
Max Pacioretty scored the lone goal for the Canadiens, who have lost two consecutive games after winning nine of their previous 10. Carey Price stopped 35 shots.
"That’s not the way you want to go down," Price said. "They stepped it up a notch in the third period and made it difficult for me to come up the ice. It was a pretty tight game overall. We played them pretty tough.
"It came down to a penalty and a broken stick."
Crosby beat Price with a one-timer, while the Penguins played with the man-advantage. It was only the second power-play goal for the Penguins in their past 23 opportunities.
"They have so much skill over there," Pacioretty said. "You give them too many chances, especially on the power play at the end of the game, you know they’re going to capitalize."
Price had previously denied Crosby on a couple of opportunities, most notably with a flashy glove save in the third period.
"You try to forget those other chances pretty quickly," said Crosby, who earned his 44th point. "(Price) made a good glove save late in the third. And you finally get one through him, and his defenseman bails him out. It’s an uphill battle sometimes."
This was the second meeting between the teams in a week. Last Saturday, Montreal scored two early goals and Price added 30 saves en route to a 4-1 road victory. That win temporarily propelled the Canadiens to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
In Saturday’s rematch, Pacioretty put the Canadiens on the board with a rare first-period goal. The 26-year-old scored his team-leading 18th of the season at 18:10 after capitalizing on a Penguins giveaway.
Pacioretty intercepted a sloppy pass by Crosby in his own zone and skated the length of the ice. With defenseman Robert Bortuzzo between him and Fleury, Pacioretty sent a wrister in the roof of the goal on the short side.
The sharpshooting left wing has scored four goals in his last four games. Pacioretty is particularly dangerous against the Pens, having now scored nine goals in 20 games facing Pittsburgh.
Montreal forward Christian Thomas, recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs on Thursday, played on the fourth line with former Bulldogs teammates Sven Andrighetto and Michael Bournival.
Thomas and his linemates had a solid first period bolstered by their relentless forecheck. Bournival drew a penalty midway through the frame, and Thomas took a big slap shot on Fleury a few minutes later.
That young fourth line was caught on the ice when Malkin beat Price to tie the game at 18:28 of the second period. Malkin fired a slap shot from the blue line and the puck found its way through several bodies for his fifth point in four games. Beau Bennett and Alexei Emelin were blocking Price’s view of the shot.
Pacioretty came inches from giving the Canadiens the victory late in the third period, but his shot found the side netting instead of the gaping hole with three minutes on the clock.
"Tonight was bad with momentum," Pacioretty said. "The most frustrating part is when you have a game where you do have momentum, you do everything right, and the puck doesn’t go in the net. And I feel like we’ve had a couple of those in the last 10 games or so.
"That’s when you feel like things are against you."
NOTES: Before the puck drop, the Canadiens played the French national anthem to honor victims of recent terror attacks in Paris. … Price was the only Canadiens player selected for the All-Star Game, which will be played Jan. 25 in Columbus, Ohio. … Montreal’s P.A. Parenteau (upper-body injury) has now missed three straight games. Manny Malhotra was a healthy scratch.