Canadiens 4, Penguins 2
MONTREAL (AP) -The Montreal Canadiens came up with a strong effort to rebound after absorbing some tough hits this weekend.
Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre scored second-period goals and Andrei Kostitsyn scored with 4:15 left to seal Montreal's 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.
Hamrlik scored in the first period and assisted on Lapierre's goal 15:07 into the second, the third straight goal by the Canadiens, who took a 3-1 lead.
"Tonight was a good example of how to play with all 20 guys together," Hamrlik said. "I think against Boston we played well, but not well enough."
Evgeni Malkin drew Pittsburgh within 3-2 midway through the third when he scored for the third game in a row for his team-leading 22nd goal of the season.
Kostitsyn, who was reunited with linemates Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec, scored with a second-effort shot in the goal mouth at 15:45 to restore Montreal's two-goal lead.
"I thought that line was pretty good tonight," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "They played against (Sidney) Crosby and Malkin pretty much right up to the third period, when they separated both of them, and they did a good job."
The line helped lead Montreal to a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference last year, but the three players have struggled to find their chemistry when they've been matched up this season.
Kovalev felt the line started to come together in the second period.
"It's slowly coming back," Kovalev said. "We talked before the game and we've got to find a solution, one way or another, because we don't have that many games left to play and if we want to stay together, that's what we have to do."
Carey Price made 23 saves as Montreal won for the second time in three games following a season-high four-game losing streak.
"We needed it a lot," Price said. "We need every game a lot from here on out, so every game we come into it's going to be the same thing."
Penguins left wing Luca Caputi opened the scoring 2:30 into his NHL debut. Caputi, a 20-year-old who was called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL on Monday, got credit for the opening goal when he scored off a goal mouth scramble after he drove the net on his first shift.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 31 shots for Pittsburgh, which lost its third in a row (0-2-1), and fourth in five.
"We got beat by high speed," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "Our guys looked really, really slow tonight. We can't give up four goals on the road and then score more than two. You need more desperation from a lot of players - some players were a no-show."
Hamrlik drew the Canadiens even at 1 with his third goal of the season 4:31 into the first. Sergei Kostitsyn cut off Fleury's clearing attempt behind the net and fed a pass into the slot for the veteran defenseman, who scored as the Pittsburgh goalie tried to scramble back into position.
"I was just trying to hit the net and it went in," Hamrlik said.
Higgins scored a short-handed goal midway through the second to give Montreal a 2-1 lead. Higgins drove in on a breakaway and fired a shot past Fleury into the top of the net 11:05 into the second for an unassisted effort, his second goal in three games, and seventh overall.
Lapierre made it a two-goal lead with his 10th goal at 15:07. Lapierre was at the left edge of the crease to take Max Pacioretty's backhand pass from the end boards and tuck the puck past Fleury.
Montreal's lineup took a double hit two days earlier as both center Robert Lang and left wing Guillaume Latendresse were lost to injury in the third period of Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Bruins.
Lang had surgery Sunday evening to repair a torn Achilles' tendon and is out indefinitely. Latendresse suffered an upper-body injury - likely to his left shoulder - when he slammed into the boards late in the game.
"Obviously, the hits and the injuries are a part of the game," said Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, who missed 17 games from Dec. 13 to Jan. 20 because of a high ankle sprain. "Whenever you face some adversity it's a chance for a lot of guys to step up and get some more ice time."
The Canadiens got one player back as Josh Gorges returned after he sat out Sunday's game for precautionary purposes. Gorges took a blow to the head in Saturday's 4-3 win over Los Angeles that cost Kings defenseman Denis Gauthier a five-game league suspension.
Montreal's Alex Henry got an early fighting major for the second game in a row when he squared off with Pittsburgh's Eric Godard at center ice as the puck was dropped for the faceoff following Caputi's goal.
Henry also fought with Boston's Shawn Thornton 1:06 into Sunday's game.
Notes: Toronto's Gus Bodnar holds the record for the fastest goal by a player making his NHL debut. Bodnar scored 15 seconds into the Maple Leafs' 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Oct. 30, 1943. ... Penguins RW Bill Thomas recorded an assist on Caputi's goal for his first point in eight games in three separate stints with Pittsburgh this season. ... Canadiens D Patrice Brisebois was a healthy scratch for the second game in a row.