The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night to move to 5-2-2 on the season and maintain the top spot in the Atlantic Division by three points, despite injuries to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and the two-game suspension of Kris Letang.
The Penguins started the game on the offensive, scoring a goal nine minutes in when James Neal was able to beat the keeper. Steve Sullivan and Richard Park provided assists on the first goal. The second goal for the Penguins came just three minutes into the second period, when Joe Vitale put one home off of an assist by Deryk Engelland.
The Penguins continued their dominance by upping the score to 3-0 five minutes into the third period on a goal by Arron Asham and assists by Engelland and Matt Niskanen. The Canadiens got one back late on a goal by Brian Gionta, but it was of no consequence with the original Penguins' three-goal cushion.
Considering all of the maladies the Penguins have experienced this early in the season, it is a little surprising they have fared this well. Neal added another goal tonight to put his count up to seven for the season. Vitale and Asham's goals were both players' first on the season.
The Canadiens fall to 1-4-1 and are left with a measly three points after six games. They are still stuck in the cellar of the Northeast Division with the Ottowa Senators. They will try to regroup against the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday at 7 p.m. The Penguins will host the New Jersey Devils, also on Saturday at 7 p.m.