PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens are still adjusting to NHL play after a nearly three-week Olympic layoff. And it showed Thursday night.
The Canadiens, playing in their second game in as many days, however, got a good performance in the end from their backup goaltender as he filled in for an injured Olympic gold medalist.
Peter Budaj stopped all three shooters in the shootout and David Desharnais scored the only goal, leading the Canadiens to a wild 6-5 victory.
"He battled back in the second and third and in the shootout he was outstanding," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said of Budaj.
Budaj, in his second straight start for injured starter Carey Price, stopped Penguins shooters James Neal and Sidney Crosby before denying Evgeni Malkin's slap shot for the win.
Desharnais, the third shooter for Montreal, slammed on the brakes at the top of the crease before sliding the puck by Marc-Andre Fleury.
"I would like to have some goals back, but we scored five goals against Pittsburgh," Budaj said. "We have to learn from the mistakes we made. We have to keep going and getting better."
Daniel Briere scored twice, once on the power play, and Max Pacioretty also scored with the man advantage, his 27th of the year. Brendan Gallagher netted his 15th for the Canadiens and Alexei Emelin also scored his second of the season.
Budaj, who stopped 27 shots, made his second straight start after turning aside 28 shots during an overtime loss one day earlier against Detroit.
"You can tell the bench guys wanted to battle back for him because he certainly worked hard," Therrien said.
He filled in for Price, who was named the top goaltender at the Olympic games after going 5-0 with a 0.59 goals-against average and two shutouts, leading Team Canada to a gold medal. Price, who aggravated a lower-body injury sustained in Sochi, will be re-evaluated Friday.
"Credit to the team because they stuck with it, they battled for me and we got the two points," Budaj said.
Crosby, who leads the NHL with 80 points, scored his 29th and added an assist. Neal scored his 21st for his 300th career point and also had an assist, while Malkin provided two assists, both extending six-game point streaks.
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