Penguins 4, Canadiens 3, OT

After losing Sidney Crosby for nearly a year, the Pittsburgh

Penguins were happy to see another one of their stars recover

quickly, and return very successfully, from a hit to the head.

Kris Letang came back with a bloodied and broken nose from a hit

late in regulation to score 2:09 into overtime, giving Pittsburgh a

4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Letang scored his third goal after James Neal poked the puck

free from Carey Price and the Penguins improved to 3-0-1 since

Crosby returned to the lineup.

”It shows a lot of guts and we’re all happy that, first of all,

he’s OK, and for him to respond like that it’s pretty amazing,”

Crosby said.

Letang passed a concussion protocol after he had his nose broken

on a hit by Max Pacioretty with 3:14 to go in the third.

”They were just happy to see me get back in the game,” Letang

said. ”They didn’t say much other than, `Let’s go! Get one!”’

Price threw away his stick and defenseman Hal Gill, one of the

Canadiens’ alternate captains, argued with referee Dan O’Rourke –

to no avail – that his goalie had covered up the puck on the


”It’s really disappointing it ended that way,” Montreal coach

Jacques Martin said.

Jordan Staal drew Pittsburgh even at 3 with 4:30 left in

regulation. Staal drove in on Price after taking a pass from Evgeni

Malkin and stickhandled to freeze the Montreal goalie before

flipping a shot into the top left corner.

Crosby, who had three assists in Pittsburgh’s 6-3 win over

Ottawa on Friday, got his eighth point in four games back from

concussion-like symptoms that sidelined him for the better part of

11 months with an assist on Evgeni Malkin’s goal 21 seconds in.

Pascal Dupuis also scored for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury

stopped 24 shots.

Pacioretty and Erik Cole each had a goal and an assist, and

Travis Moen scored an unassisted goal for Montreal, which lost in

Philadelphia on Friday. Carey Price made 38 saves.

Letang was bleeding from the nose and had blood on his visor

after he was run over by Pacioretty while following through on a

slap shot inside the Montreal blue line.

Pacioretty suffered a broken cervical vertebra on a devastating

hit by Boston’s Zdeno Chara on March 8. He missed the rest of the

2010-11 regular season and playoffs.

”He came to apologize,” Letang said. ”It was a great gesture

by him.”

Guided by Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis as he skated off the ice

to the dressing room, Letang returned for overtime.

”I feel terrible that he got hurt but I’m thankful that he came

back,” Pacioretty said.

No penalty was called on the play.

”I was surprised, yes,” said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, who

expects that the league will review the hit.

”I thought it was a good hit,” Martin said.

Crosby picked up his sixth assist when Malkin scored during a

delayed penalty call 21 seconds in. Malkin put the puck past Price

for his eighth goal shortly after Crosby drove the net to draw a

call against Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges.

Crosby lost out on another assist 1:04 into the second after a

goal awarded to Chris Kunitz was reversed by a video review, the

first of two tallies denied to the Penguins forward during the


Crosby’s contribution to Dupuis’ goal late in the second didn’t

appear on the score sheet. The Penguins’ captain was parked in

front of Price when Dupuis drove a slap shot home for his sixth

goal at 16:40.

Referee Mike Hasenfratz waved off a potential short-handed goal

by Kunitz 3:57 into the third. Both Price and the puck ended up in

the net after the Pittsburgh forward came into contact with the

Canadiens goalie, who stopped Kunitz’s shot on a breakaway.

”It was a great job by our team to stick with it,” Kunitz

said. ”We were a little bit against the odds when a couple of

replays went against us but it was great by Jordan to get that one

to tie it up and then for Kris to come back in overtime and score a

big goal for our team.”

Moen brought the stunned Bell Centre crowd of 21,273 back to

life moments after Malkin’s goal when he fired a shot past Fleury

into the top right corner from the left faceoff circle.

Pacioretty gave Montreal a 2-1 lead with his team-leading 10th

goal at 7:37.

Cole made it 3-1 with his seventh goal with 8:51 left in the


Notes: Malkin has eight points over the course of a four-game

streak, including three goals and five assists. … Canadiens RW

Andrei Kostitsyn returned after missing 10 games because of a

lower-body injury.