MONTREAL – Benoit Pouliot scored on Montreal's fifth shootout attempt to give the Canadiens a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were missing injured captain Sidney Crosby on Thursday night.
Carey Price, who made 31 saves through overtime, was perfect in the shootout. He denied Kris Letang, Pascal Dupuis, Evgeni Malkin and Mark Letestu before stopping Chris Kunitz on Pittsburgh's final attempt.
Pouliot deked Brent Johnson and let the puck slide into the right side of the net as Montreal won in its first shootout of the season. He also scored the tying goal in the second period as the Canadiens improved to 2-0-1 following a three-game losing streak.
Arron Asham scored in the first period for Pittsburgh, 1-2-1 in its last four games. Johnson made 22 saves, including stopping the only shot he faced in overtime.
Crosby, who leads the NHL with 32 goals and 66 points, missed his first game of the season because of an undisclosed upper body injury. He flew back to Pittsburgh on Thursday to be re-evaluated by team doctors after he was injured Wednesday in the Penguins' 8-1 home victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Penguins forward Matt Cooke also returned to Pittsburgh because of personal reasons.
The Canadiens announced before the game that defenseman Josh Gorges will have surgery on his right knee and miss the rest of the season. Montreal is already without star defenseman Andrei Markov for the season because of a knee injury.
Montreal managed just one shot during a lengthy two-man advantage midway through the third. Pittsburgh was called for two straight delay-of-game penalties when Johnson and Paul Martin each cleared the puck over the glass while Alex Goligoski served a hooking penalty.
Penguins center Maxime Talbot beat out David Desharnais on a faceoff in Montreal's zone to set up the opening goal 2:14 in. Asham put away a rebound of Ben Lovejoy's slap shot for his fifth goal after the Pittsburgh defenseman one-timed Goligoski's pass back to the point.
Desharnais got his first point in two games since being recalled from Hamilton of the AHL on Friday when he assisted on Pouliot's goal 12:28 into the second that made it 2-2. The diminutive center flipped a pass from behind the net to Mathieu Darche, who gloved the puck but was unable to get a shot away.
Letestu's clearing attempt went right to Pouliot, who snapped a shot over Johnson's left arm for his eighth goal.
Malkin missed an opportunity to give Pittsburgh a two-goal lead earlier in the second. The Russian center lost control of the puck when he went to his forehand on a breakaway, right after Montreal defenseman Jaroslav Spacek drove a shot off the right post.
NOTES: Crosby had recorded only one point — an assist against the Lightning — in three games since a 25-game point streak. ... Desharnais had one assist in six games with Montreal last season. ... Gorges had one goal and six assists in 36 games this season.