MONTREAL (AP)—Sidney Crosby waited until the end of his first game in Montreal to savor playing and starring in the home of his once-beloved Canadiens.
Crosby scored on Pittsburgh’s first shot and finished with two goals Tuesday night, leading the Penguins to a 6-4 victory over Montreal, the team the 18-year-old star rooted for as a youngster.
“If you’re too awestruck, you get caught watching, you get caught being happy to be there and you’re not worrying about trying to contribute and then make the difference,” Crosby said.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to enjoy the moment but you don’t want to get caught up in watching too much and getting stuck out there, so I think the best part for me was probably at the end, getting the win and it was a bonus to come out with the first star.”
Crosby’s second goal of the game—his team-leading 21st—gave the Penguins a 5-4 lead early in the third period. He was credited with the go-ahead goal at 1:58. The game was delayed for a video review that clearly showed that Crosby kicked back a rebound off Jose Theodore towards the Canadiens goalie. The puck struck the edge of Theodore’s left skate, which redirected it into the net.
“There are times that he surprises me on the ice, but I have to tell you something, I don’t think this is the last time he’s going to surprise me,” said Penguins coach Michel Therrien, who won his return to Montreal nearly three years after he was fired by the Canadiens.
Michel Ouellet also scored twice for Pittsburgh, including a power-play goal 18:52 into the second that tied it at 4. Ouellet scored Pittsburgh’s sixth goal — his second of the game—at 14:57 of the game to put the game away.
Crosby, who delivered a highlight-reel shootout-winning goal Nov. 10 against Theodore in his first game against the Canadiens, scored on his first shot in Montreal.
He beat Theodore 4:33 in as he elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 with Zigmund Palffy.
“It seems like yesterday I was up there watching my first NHL game, and I was skating on the ice this time,” said Crosby, who had about 30 members of his family and friends on hand. “It brings back memories, but at the same time it’s something I’ll remember forever.”
Crosby came close to scoring on his next chance. With the Penguins leading 3-0 after getting goals from Endicott and Talbot, his shot at 14:20 beat Theodore once again, but hit the left post. Moments later, Crosby set up Tomas Surovy, who also hit the post with a shot.
“He’s very composed at what he does,” said Mark Recchi, who assisted on Shane Endicott’s first career goal, a shorthanded effort 10:43 into the first. “He’s very focused and he knows what he has to do. He knows how to prepare for games. He’s very good at it, he doesn’t get sidetracked, he knows what he has to do to deal with the media and gets it done, then focuses on what he has to do. He’s tremendous at it for 18 years old.”
Maxime Talbot also scored in the first for the Penguins, who have claimed eight of a possible 10 points in their last five games (3-0-2).
Jonathan Ferland scored in his first NHL game, delivering Montreal’s fourth straight goal as the Canadiens overcame an early 3-0 deficit only to give up three unanswered goals.
“It’s an amazing feeling, for sure,” Ferland said. “At the time it gave us the lead and I was hoping that we’d get the win but it’s too bad that we lost the game.”
The Canadiens began their comeback when Jan Bulis scored with 19.7 seconds remaining in the first. Steve Begin scored his ninth of the season 2:26 into the second to draw Montreal to within 3-2 and Sheldon Souray tied it at 5:30 with his third goal.
Ferland, called up from Hamilton of the AHL the day before, brought the Bell Centre crowd of 21,273 to its feet when he put a pass from Chris Higgins between Marc-Andre Fleury’s pads to give the Canadiens the lead.
Crosby’s father Troy was drafted 240th overall by Montreal in 1984 but never played for the Canadiens. … Ferland had five goals and four assists in 14 games with Hamilton. … Canadiens C Radek Bonk returned after missing 11 games because of a groin injury. Bonk, whose injuries have caused him to miss 18 games overall, has no goals and six assists in 20 games this season. … Montreal has sold out each of its 19 home games.