Montreal did its best to prevent Pittsburgh from finding any, taking away open ice early and spending most of the time keeping Fleury busy. It hardly looked like the wild 7-6 overtime victory by the Penguins three weeks ago that kick-started what is now the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. Pittsburgh ripped off 19 straight during the 1992-93 season.
Pittsburgh needed more than six minutes to register a shot, then again coach Michel Therrien knows a few things about handling the Penguins. He coached Pittsburgh to the 2008 Stanley Cup finals before Bylsma replaced him in February 2009. The Penguins won the Cup four months later.
Tuesday night was Therrien's first game in Pittsburgh since his ouster. He politely nodded during a brief video tribute in the middle of the first period, but that would be the extent of the pleasantries on a night both teams hope served as a preview of a late postseason series for the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
Pittsburgh is gearing up for a Cup run, picking up Morrow from the Dallas Stars on Sunday then adding burly defenseman Doug Murray from San Jose on Monday. Murray won't arrive until Wednesday, but his new team certainly could have used him to clear some space in front of the net against the persistent Canadiens.
Montreal spent most of the night driving at Fleury. He was more than equal to the task and spectacular at times, helped by a pair of shots by Canadiens forward Michael Ryder that hit off the post.
"You need a break if you want to win some hockey games," Therrien said. "Certainly we didn't have any break tonight. Twice (we) hit the crossbar. It's a matter of inches to get out of the building with a win."
NOTES: Montreal F Jeff Halpern played 14:51 in his debut with the Canadiens. Halpern was claimed off waivers last Saturday ... Orpik played in his 619th game, tying him with Ron Shock for the sixth-most games in franchise history. ... The Canadiens scratched D Tomas Kaberle and Fs Mike Blunden and Ryan White. ... The Penguins are 11-2 this season when playing without reigning NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin, who remains sidelined with an upper body injury.