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Malkin, Gonchar help Penguins snap skid, edge Canadiens

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins finally reaped

the benefits of defenseman Sergei Gonchar's return from a

devastating injury.

All-Star Evgeni Malkin recorded a goal and an assist and Gonchar

snapped a tie at 7:18 of the third period as the Penguins edged

the Montreal Canadiens, 5-4, on Thursday.

Petr Sykora, Miroslav Satan and Maxime Talbot each tallied and

Ruslan Fedotenko notched two assists for Pittsburgh, which had

lost two straight games and six of its last nine.

"It's a big, emotional win for us and it's good for the coaching

staff, too," Talbot said.

Tomas Plekanec netted a pair of goals and set up another and

Andrei Kostitsyn scored and registered two assists while newly

acquired defenseman Mathieu Schneider also tallied for the

Canadiens, who have dropped three in a row and seven of their

last eight.

"It was a tough one, but the last two games there have been a

lot of good things from this group," Plekanec said. "I'm sure

we're going to keep going and if we keep playing like we did the

last two games, good things will come."

Gonchar, who came back from a shoulder surgery on Saturday,

netted his first goal of the season at the most opportune time.

The blue-liner fired a hard slap shot from the slot that sailed

by All-Star netminder Carey Price, who finished with 23 saves.

"When you've got a shot like that, eventually the puck is going

to go in," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "He got a good

look from the middle of the ice and that's where he likes to

shoot it, so that was a great shot. I'm happy for him."

Malkin snapped a 2-2 tie 29 seconds into the third and Talbot

doubled the lead 2 1/2 minutes later. However, Montreal crept

back as Kostitsyn and Plekanec tallied in a three-minute span to

forge a tie.

Sykora opened the scoring midway through the first, but Plekanec

struck for his first goal of the contest at 6:22 of the second.

Satan registered his 15th tally of the season 63 seconds later

and Schneider - acquired via trade with the Atlanta Thrashers

earlier in the week - scored a power-play goal with 4:56 left in

the session to level the game at 2-2.

"I thought, again, we played well enough to win," Schneider

said. "When you're going through periods like this it can be

frustrating. You can sense it in the room a bit. But there

were a lot of great things out there.

"We showed a little resiliency to come back down from two goals

and we gave ourselves a chance to win, but you almost have to

play a perfect game when you're going through these periods."

Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 23 shots for the Penguins, who

earned their first win under new interim coach Dan Bylsma.

"Our guys were energized, focused and ready to go," Bylsma said.

"I think they had a clear understanding of what was at stake and

the way we wanted to play. While I said it wasn't perfect, I

think they sent a message loud and clear.

"This is a team that we can go and play aggressive and we were

aggressive defensively like we wanted to be. It was a great

message."

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