Max on fire
Max Pacioretty scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season to key the Canadiuens' 3-2 conquest of the Penguins.
The Canadiens led 1-0, on Pacioretty's first goal of the game, after 40 minutes and took control in the third period when Tomas Plekanec and Pacioretty beat Marc-Andree Fleury.
James Neal scored twice for the visitors.
Carey Price made 29 saves to 26 for Fleury.
Sidney Crosby was blanketed by Plekanec and kept off the scoresheet.
The win completed an unlikely back-to-back sweep of Washington and Pittsburgh.
Explosion of scoring
Before the third operiod was three minutes old, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty (with his second of the game) gave the Canadiens a 3-0 lead.
James Neal got the Penguins on the board with an unstoppable laser. And with three minutes left, Evgeni Malkin's spectacular end-to-end rush set up Neal's second of the game.
Then the Canadiens held the fort.
Max scores, exits
Pouncing on a ridiculous turnover by Pittsburgh defenceman Olli "Vowels" Maata, Max Pacioretty fired a wrister past Marc-Andree Fleury for the game's first and, thus far, only goal.
Pacioretty left the game midway through the period.
The Canadiens had back-to-back power plays but could not beat Fleury.
Shots were 11-8 for the home team.
The period ended in a scrum, featuring Brendan Gallagher and Chris Kunitz, setting up a lively third.
The POenguins and Canadiens played 20 minutes of terrific hockey.
The home team didn't get a shot until eight minutes into the game. And they had to kill two penalties.
But the Canadiens had the best of it late in the period, and a Tomas Plekanec shot nearly trickled past Marc-André Fleury.
Carey Price's best saves were on a bang-bang close-in chance by Pascal Dupuis.
Shots were 12-12.
While y'all had a good Friday night's sleep after that nice W in Washington, the HIO staff stayed up studying video on Pittsburgh to prepare for the Penguins' visit to the Bell Centre Saturday night.
We perused a 20-page scouting report full of McGuirean detail, such as Matt Niskanen's tendencies on dump-ins to his opposite corner and what Beau Bennett studied in high school.
But all the accumulated intelligence boils down to this:
Keep an eye on Sidney Crosby ... and Evgeni Malkin ... and James Neal ... and Chris Kunitz ... and Kris Letang ... and ...
The visitors have a lot of weapons – not to mention a hot goaltender in Marc-André Fleury (13-6-0, 1.90, .924).
The Penguins are the best team the Canadiens have faced – and the best Bell Centre fans have seen – since San Jose came to town. Pittsburgh's last visit, on March 2, Brandon Sutter scored in OT to secure a 7-6 barnburner win.
If both teams play well Saturday night, it should be a terrific game.