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Montreal Canadiens goaltender Antti Niemi is scored on by Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel during the first period in Montreal, on March 15, 2018.Graham Hughes

Patric Hornqvist scored twice, including the third-period winner, and added an assist as the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 on Thursday.

Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust, into the empty net, also scored for Pittsburgh (41-26-5), which remain tied on points atop the Metropolitan Division with the Washington Capitals. The Caps also won on Thursday.

Tristan Jarry made 17 saves for his 14th win of the season while starter Matt Murray remains sidelined with a concussion.

Artturi Lehkonen, Paul Byron and Nicolas Deslauriers scored for Montreal (26-33-12). Goalie Antti Niemi stopped 34-of-38 shots in his first regulation loss since Feb. 14.

The Penguins heavily outshot Montreal, making a game-winner almost inevitable. Hornqvist put Pittsburgh in front for good with 7:36 remaining in the third period by deflecting a Carl Hagelin shot past Niemi.

Rust added some insurance with an empty-net goal with 1:53 left on the clock.

Montreal jumped ahead to a two-goal lead early in the first period with scores from Lehkonen and Byron.

Lehkonen made it 1-0 when he deflected Jeff Petry's shot past Jarry at 3:13, his fourth goal in as many games.

Byron doubled the lead at 6:31, on the power play, when he jumped on Brendan Gallagher's rebound in the crease for his 17th goal of the season.

The Penguins had two shots on net at that point, but the deficit seemed to act as a wake-up call.

Kessel got the visitors on the board at 10:05 on a 2-on-1 with Rust after a giveaway by Petry in his own zone.

Hornqvist tied the game at 2-2 when his centring pass to Hagelin in front of goal went off Byron's stick and trickled past his own goalie.

It was all Pittsburgh in the second period as they outshot Claude Julien's men 18-4, but they only had one goal to show for their efforts.

Malkin put the Pens in front 3-2 at 10:30 with a one-timer from the faceoff dot while playing with the man advantage.

Montreal equalized when Deslauriers found himself all alone in the slot two minutes later. The 27-year-old beat Jarry top shelf for his eighth of the year after blown coverage by the Penguins.

Notes: Sidney Crosby is two assists away from 800 in his career.

Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews says recovering from his Feb. 22 shoulder injury is a gradual process. Matthews took part in his second straight full practice Tuesday, but continued to wear a red non-contact jersey.

The Canadian Press

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