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With two goals from Kris Letang, Penguins take care of business against Canadiens

Matt Vensel, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Hockey

PITTSBURGH — The Penguins have a long, long way to go to get back into the playoff race. But beating one of the teams that are actually behind them in the standings should have them feeling a bit better after a pair of humbling losses on this homestand.

On Thursday, they easily defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1, at PPG Paints Arena. Kris Letang had a pair of goals as they snapped a two-game skid.

The much-needed victory came one day after president of hockey operations Kyle Dubas stated publicly that the players would get a little more time to show him that the roster needn’t be overhauled before the March 8 trade deadline.

It didn’t take long Thursday for the Penguins to be stuck chasing the lead, which has been a recurring problem during their recent downturn. They had stabilized a bit after an early Canadiens push when Letang gifted the visitors a goal.

Mike Matheson, the ex-Penguins defenseman who works out with Letang in the summer, stepped in front of Letang’s blind, spinning pass then skated in to beat Tristan Jarry. Jarry didn’t have a chance with Tanner Pearson sitting in his lap.

Letang — furious with himself — snapped his stick as the Canadiens celebrated.

 

He apparently picked the right replacement from the stick rack, because on his next shift he tied the score. Just like that, Letang totally redeemed himself when his wrist shot from the point made it through a crowd and past Cayden Primeau.

Pittsburgh blew the game open in the second with two goals 21 seconds apart.

Bryan Rust scored seconds into the first power play of the night. Sidney Crosby won that first faceoff and Rust rushed to the net front, scoring on a deflection.

That was just the sixth goal in the last 15 games for the NHL’s 30th-ranked PP.

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