PITTSBURGH — Tomas Fleischmann finished off an odd-man rush with his first goal of the season early in the third period to lift the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.
Fleischmann scored off a feed from David Desharnais and Carey Price made it stand up as Montreal improved to 4-0. Max Pacioretty scored twice for the Canadiens. Price finished with 31 saves as Montreal wrapped up a perfect four-game road trip to start the season.
Beau Bennett and Kris Letang scored for Pittsburgh, which dropped to 0-3. Phil Kessel picked up an assist in his home debut with the Penguins, who picked the All-Star forward up over the summer in a blockbuster trade with Toronto.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots for the Penguins, who are winless through three games for the first time since 2005.
Twice Pittsburgh rallied from one-goal deficits to tie it but had no answer after Fleishmann finished a rush that started when Pittsburgh rookie forward Sergei Plotnikov appeared to be tripped by Desharnais in the Montreal zone, springing the Canadiens. Fleischmann ended it by easily slipping a pass from Desharnais by Fleury.
Price, the reigning MVP, kept the Penguins at bay, including a beautiful glove save on Sidney Crosby with 2:17 to go in which the goaltender smothered the one-timer with his glove and left pad while lying on his stomach.
The Penguins spent the offseason acquiring a marquee talent to pair with Crosby and bolstering the bottom six in hopes of reducing some of the load off their stars. While coach Mike Johnston expected it to take time for things to gel, he didn't expect to watch his team to slog through a pair of listless losses on the road in which the Penguins managed all of one goal in six periods.
Johnston preached the importance of a better start, but playing the first meaningful game at home in six months seemed to do little to jolt the Penguins to life.
Montreal's smothering defense didn't help.
Pacioretty gave the Canadiens the lead 5:46 into the game, taking a cross ice feed from Brendan Gallagher then firing a shot from between the circles and beating a late-arriving Fleury. The Penguins produced just four shots in the first 20 minutes, including a wrister at the end of a two-on-one from Crosby that signaled the two-time MVP's first shot on goal of the season.
Bennett tied it 5:31 into the second, creating a takeaway at one end then beating Price with a shot over the goaltender's right shoulder. Pacioretty put Montreal back in front just over three minutes later with a power-play goal from the right circle, the puck glancing off Fleury's glove on its way to the net.
Letang knotted it again just past the game's midway point with a fluttering wrister that Price couldn't quite pick up. Evgeni Malkin and Kessel picked up the assists — the first of the season by an Penguin — but Price settled down and Montreal's red-hot start continued when Fleischmann slid the puck by Fleury early in the third.
NOTES: Montreal scratched defensemen Greg Pateryn and Jarred Tinordi as well as winger Paul Byron. ... Pittsburgh scratched forward Bobby Farnham and defensemen Adam Clendening and Tim Erixon. ... The Penguins host Ottawa on Thursday. ... Montreal play the New York Rangers in the home opener at the Forum on Thursday.