The lackluster effort spoiled what was an excellent performance by Canadiens goalie Carey Price. The Habs netminder made 29 saves on a night that could have easily been 5-0 by the midway point.
Despite the return of Mike Cammalleri, the Habs offense couldn't get anything together. They did have a total of 28 shots, but much their loss to Buffalo Sabres the bulk were to the perimeter, or even from their own end. Those that were in close were easy to see and handled by Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
After maybe their best overall game of the season on Tuesday, Habs coach Jacques Martin screamed at his team during Wednesday's practice. With Thursday's result, is it possible that the bench boss has lost the respect of his team?
Pittsburgh opened the scoring at 8:55 of the opening period. The hot James Neal flung a flutter ball that deflected off the leg of Josh Gorges. The puck struck the post, then hit the back of goaltender Carey Price's leg and just rolled over the line.
They opened their lead to a pair of goals in the second period. A turnover by Alexei Emelin, and some puck watching by defense partner Yannick Weber, led to a Joe Vitale tip-in at 2:38.
While Hal Gill had the spotlight, playing his 1000th career NHL game, it was also a milestone for the Penguins Arron Asham. The Penguins forward celebrated his 700th career game with the third goal of the evening, at 5:20 of the third period, skating in unattended and batting a high puck into the net.
Brian Gionta spoiled Fleury's bid for his first career shutout of the Canadiens, with a late goal at 18:24.
The Canadiens next game is Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Blue and White suffered their first regulation loss, a 6-2 pasting at the hands of the Boston Bruins, so expect them to be in tough at the Bell Centre.
Scott Gomez left the game during the first period with ans upper-body injury, and did not return. Max Pacioretty left the bench momentarily in the same period, but returned to finish the game.Pacioretty also had a four-game point streak snapped.
Scoring Summary from NHL.com
Three Deryk Engelland 3. Arron Asham:1. Marc-Andre Fleury 2.