Sidney Crosby got his third career hat trick and linemate Chris Kunitz had four points as the Penguins beat the Montreal Canadiens, 6-1, tonight at Mellon Arena to improve to 10-2.
The Penguins, who finished their homestand 4-1, avoided losing two games in a row for the first time this season and halted Montreal's winning streak at four games.
The Penguins got the only goal of the first period from their top line.
Kunitz gloved the puck to keep it in the Canadiens end and passed it under pressure to Bill Guerin. Guerin started to move down the slot before dishing it to Crosby, whose one-time shot from the bottom of the right circle beat Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halak in the near corner.
The Penguins broke things open in the second period with three goals.
Crosby got his second goal of the game at 5:08 of the second period. Alex Goligoski hit the post, and Kunitz got the rebound. Halak made a stop on Kunitz's shot, but Crosby got that rebound and lifted the puck over the goalie's glove.
Mike Rupp increased the Penguins' lead to 3-0 at 12:58 of the second period when he scored from a crowd in front of the crease off a rebound on a shot from the right point by Mark Eaton.
Crosby made it a hat trick at 15:33 of the second period. Guerin set him up alone in front of the net. With his back to Halak, Crosby spun around and tried to put the puck past the goalie's right skate, but it bounced off, ricocheted off an incoming Montreal player and slid under Halak to make it 4-0.
Carey Price replaced Halak in goal for Montreal for the third period.
The Canadiens broke up Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's bid for his 16th career shutout when Tomas Plekanec scored on a short-range rebound at 5:39 of the third period while Montreal was on a five-on-three power play.
Goligoski restored the Penguins' four-goal cushion with a blast from the center point during a power play at 10:50 of the third period that made it 5-1.
Guerin picked up his third assist of the game on Goligoski's goal, giving him 820 career points. That pushed him ahead of former Penguin John LeClair and into sixth place all time in the NHL among American-born players.
Kunitz got his first goal of the season and notched his first career four-point night when he scored off a breakaway at 16:31 of the third period to make it 6-1.
The Penguins play Friday night at Columbus.
Shelly Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1721.