PITTSBURGH — Brenden Morrow scored two goals for the second straight game and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-4 on Wednesday night to move closer to clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Brandon Sutter added two goals for Pittsburgh, and newly acquired Jarome Iginla and Doug Murray also scored for the Penguins, who had little trouble with the Canadiens despite playing without injured stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 31 shots and Pittsburgh dominated in racing to a quick 4-0 lead.
Brian Gionta, Alex Galchenyuk, Gabriel Dumont and Andrei Markov scored for the reeling Canadiens, who have lost three straight. Peter Budaj started in goal but was pulled after stopping just six of the nine shots he faced in the first period.
Carey Price relieved and allowed three goals on 20 shots, absorbing the loss.
The Penguins lead the Canadiens by nine points in the fight for the top seed. Both teams have five games remaining.
Crosby missed his seventh straight game because of a broken jaw, and Malkin sat while nursing a lingering shoulder injury. Their absences have allowed the aggressive moves made by Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero the last 12 months to shine through.
Morrow, Iginla and Murray arrived in trades just before last month’s deadline, and Sutter came to Pittsburgh in a stunning swap last June that sent popular center Jordan Staal to Carolina.
Sutter has settled in just fine anchoring the third line, and he is quickly developing chemistry with a suddenly resurgent Morrow. The veteran forward failed to score in his first six games with the Penguins but he has five goals in eight days.
The Canadiens intended to give Price, their No. 1 goalie, the night off to recover after he allowed 12 total goals in blowout losses to Toronto and Philadelphia.
Sabres 3, Bruins 2
BOSTON — Drew Stafford scored the only shootout goal after Buffalo tied the game in the final minute of regulation, and the Sabres beat the Bruins in the first pro game in Boston since the marathon bombings.
The Sabres forced overtime with 26.6 seconds left when Cody Hodgson scored his 14th goal of the season, tipping in Thomas Vanek’s pass into the slot during a power play.
Boston still clinched a playoff berth by gaining one point. The Bruins are tied in points with Montreal atop the Northeast Division, but have one game in hand on the Canadiens. Both teams trail Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh by nine points.
There was heightened security at TD Garden where cars entering the garage were searched, and fans were checked with wands and patted down.