Pens aim to stay hot in Montreal

( - The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to keep rolling when they shoot for a fourth straight victory in Saturday's road battle with the Montreal Canadiens.

Pittsburgh has won three in a row following a 1-3-0 stretch from Nov. 6-16 and has outscored the opposition by a combined 11-4 score during the winning streak.

With another victory in Saturday's test at the Bell Centre, the Pens would match their longest winning streak of the season. Pittsburgh has won four straight on two prior occasions this season, with the last time coming from Oct. 28-Nov. 2.

Pittsburgh notched a 4-3 win Friday evening against the visiting New York Islanders. Sidney Crosby scored his 12th goal of the season with 1:16 remaining in the third period to lift the Pens to the close win at CONSOL Energy Center.

Chris Kunitz helped set up Crosby's game-winner after potting a pair of power- play goals in the first period, while Evgeni Malkin halted a career-long stretch of 15 straight games without a goal by scoring once and assisting on another for the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins.

"We were really happy for [Malkin]," Crosby said. "He had a ton of chances the last little while and we knew it was a matter of time."

Crosby added an assist as well in support of a 32-save effort between the pipes from Jeff Zatkoff.

Marc-Andre Fleury will be back between the pipes for the Pens on Saturday. The Quebec native is 15-8-2 with a 3.19 goals against average in 26 career games against the Canadiens.

Beginning with tonight's test, the Penguins will play two straight and five of their next six games on the road. Pittsburgh is 5-5-0 as the visiting team this season compared to a stellar 10-3-0 mark at home.

Montreal also enters Saturday's clash on a roll, having won two straight to post a 4-1-1 record over its last six trips to the ice. The Habs registered an easy 6-2 win Tuesday night against visiting Minnesota and then hit the road for Friday's close regulation victory at Washington.

The Canadiens rode a first-period offensive surge and a 25-save effort by Peter Budaj to down the Capitals last night. Travis Moen, David Desharnais and Daniel Briere scored in a 4:47 span in the first period for Montreal and that would prove to be enough offense to eclipse Washington.

"We had a really good start, obviously," said Montreal coach Michel Therrien. "I really liked the way we played the second period. We were dictating the game and had a few breakdowns at times. They were pressing a lot in the third. Peter was fantastic again."

Budaj improved to 4-1-0 this season, but No. 1 netminder Carey Price is expected to start on Saturday. Price is 8-8-0 with a 2.91 GAA in 19 career outings against the Pens.

This is the first of three meetings between the Pens and Habs this season. Pittsburgh has dominated the series in recent years, winning all three encounters last season to give the Penguins six victories over the past seven meetings.

The Canadiens, who are just 6-5-2 at the Bell Centre this season, also have lost three of their past four home games in this series.