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Pittsburgh at Montreal

Pens win to ensure matchup with Flyers; Habs locked in at 8th seed

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MONTREAL -- The Pittsburgh Penguins ensured another all-Pennsylvania NHL playoff matchup. All that's left to determine is whether the first-round series will start in Philadelphia or the Steel City.

Maxime Talbot and Kris Letang scored short-handed goals 55 seconds apart midway through the third period to send the Penguins to a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Evgeni Malkin, poised to claim his first NHL scoring title, increased his point total to 113 with his 35th goal 1:09 into the game for Pittsburgh. The Penguins will face Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs, with home-ice advantage to be determined Sunday when the Flyers host the New York Rangers. The teams are tied with 99 points, but Pittsburgh owns the tiebreaker because it has one more victory.

Philadelphia needs only one point to earn the No. 4 seed.

"We probably never would have thought there's a chance of getting home ice," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "Now that we've given ourselves a chance, we've got to scoreboard-watch. It's not really in our hands, but we've done what we can to give ourselves a chance. If we're able to do it, that would be great. If not, we're familiar with our opponent and we'll go from there."

Malkin, who finished three points ahead of Washington's Alex Ovechkin, is the Penguins' fourth Art Ross Trophy. Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Crosby have combined to win 12 scoring titles with Pittsburgh since 1988.

"It's amazing. It really is when you look back at our team's history," said Crosby, who led the league in 2006-07. "Gino's a well-deserving scoring champion with the way he's played all year. He's been so consistent and so important to our team, so to have it stay in Pittsburgh is great for everybody."

Roman Hamrlik scored for Montreal, which will be the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference and face top-seeded Boston in the postseason.

"I don't know how many times this is, but it's a traditional rivalry, and I think I'd prefer to wait until Monday before we really start to talk about Boston, just to give us some time to get our thoughts together," Canadiens general manager and coach Bob Gainey said.

It will be the 32nd playoff series between the Canadiens and the Bruins. Boston was the No. 8 seed last season when the Bruins were eliminated in seven games by Montreal.

The Canadiens went 5-6-4 in Gainey's second stint as the team's coach since he took over behind the bench after firing Guy Carbonneau on March 9. He also took on Montreal's coaching duties midway through the 2003-04 season when he fired Claude Julien, the Bruins' current coach.

The Canadiens' loss also set up a playoff matchup between No. 2 Washington and the No. 7 Rangers.

Pittsburgh's third straight victory sealed the Carolina Hurricanes into sixth place and created a first-round series between them and the No. 3 New Jersey Devils.

Talbot finished off a 2-on-1 with Pascal Dupuis 9:46 into the third to put Pittsburgh up 3-1. Letang beat Carey Price with a slap shot from the left side at 10:41 with one second remaining in a penalty to Brooks Orpik.

"The main goal is to kill the two minutes, but when you get some offense out of it, it's great," said Talbot, who had another potential short-handed goal disallowed in the first.

Malkin beat Price from the edge of the crease when he put a rebound of Sergei Gonchar's shot through the goalie's legs before he could clear the puck.

Pittsburgh nearly took a two-goal lead while killing a penalty later in the period when Talbot batted a high rebound of Dupuis' shot into the net.

Referee Eric Furlatt immediately waved off the goal, and a lengthy video review upheld his ruling that Talbot had made contact with the puck above the level of the crossbar.

Hamrlik drew Montreal even with his sixth goal at 17:29 when his shot from the left point evaded Marc-Andre Fleury.

"I think it hit Hal Gill in the chest and then I lost it," said Fleury, who made 29 saves.

Price had the sold-out crowd chanting, "Carey! Carey!" late in the second period after he lunged to his left to make a spectacular glove save on Matt Cooke's shot after the Penguins forward received a pass from Talbot on a 2-on-1 break.

Price made 38 saves overall, including a similar stop on Bill Guerin moments later. Pittsburgh enjoyed a 34-13 shots advantage through the first two periods, including a 17-6 margin in the opening frame.

The Canadiens, who are celebrating their 100th season, sold out each of their 41 home games to reach a total attendance of 872,193 for a fourth straight season.

Notes

  • Canadiens D Andrei Markov missed his fourth straight game because of a lower body injury sustained one week earlier.
  • LW Alex Tanguay, LW Sergei Kostitsyn, D Patrice Brisebois and D Ryan O'Byrne did not dress for Montreal.
  • Pittsburgh had won the season series from Montreal three straight times, but settled for a split this season (2-2).
  • The Penguins are 20-19-2 in season finales.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Evgeni Malkin takes home the Art Ross Trophy as the league's highest scorer, beating Alex Ovechkin.  (AP)
Evgeni Malkin takes home the Art Ross Trophy as the league's highest scorer, beating Alex Ovechkin. (AP)

Related Links
 
Scoreboard
Pittsburgh  (45-28-9) «1023
Montreal (41-30-11)1001
Three Stars
C. Price
MON


Saves: 38
Save Pct.: .927
K. Letang
PIT


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
P. Dupuis
PIT


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:09Evgeni Malkin (35), Tip-In. Assist: Gonchar, Fedotenko
17:29Roman Hamrlik (5), Tip-In. Assist: Komisarek, Latendresse
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
09:46Short - Maxime Talbot (12), Wrist Shot. Assist: Dupuis
10:41Short - Kris Letang (10), Slap Shot. Assist: Staal
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
09:52Komisarek, 2 min, Hooking
13:48Gonchar, 2 min, Elbowing
2ND PERIOD
06:52Koivu, 2 min, Holding the Stick
10:41Kostopoulos, 2 min, Hooking
14:16Hamrlik, 2 min, Interference
3RD PERIOD
08:42Orpik, 2 min, Cross-Checking
14:18Gill, 2 min, Holding
16:07Kovalev, 2 min, Tripping
Shots On Goal
 123T
Pittsburgh1717741
Montreal671730
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Marc-Andre Fleury59:50291
Carey Price59:58383
Game Information
Attendance - 21273
Referees - Eric Furlatt, Dave Jackson
Linesmen - Pierre Champoux, Greg Devorski
 
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