PITTSBURGH -- The most impressive part of the Pittsburgh Penguins' winning streak goes beyond the fact they have put together 13 consecutive victories.
It's that the Penguins have changed their style of play while putting together the longest streak in the NHL this season and the second-longest in franchise history. Never was that change more evident than Tuesday night.
Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun combined on a shutout, Sidney Crosby scored the game's lone goal and the Penguins eked out a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Consol Energy Center.
The winning streak started against the Canadiens with the Penguins winning a wild 7-6 overtime affair in Montreal on March 2. Twenty-four days later, the teams combined for 12 fewer goals and that didn't occur by happenstance.
"We were winning games like that 7-6 game in Montreal but we weren't feeling good about the way we were winning," said Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik, who had a game-high six hits. "When you're winning and not feeling good about it, you know things need to change. We're playing better defense now. We're playing more under control and guys are buying into it. It's working. Look at the results."
The Penguins are four games away from the team record winning streak of 17, set from March 9-April, 1993. Pittsburgh (26-8-0) also extended its Eastern Conference lead to seven points over the second-place Canadiens (20-7-5), who have lost two straight games after going 6-0-1 in their previous seven.
"I don't think the winning streak is on the mind of our players but I haven't done laundry in a long time," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said with a smile, alluding to the old superstition of wearing the same clothes during a winning streak. "The mindset of the players is not to talk about it. We're playing well but we have to play better. We didn't play particularly well in this game but we got the win."
Fleury left with an undisclosed injury at the end of the second period after making 25 saves. Vokoun came on in relief and stopped 12 shots on goal to finish the shutout.
The Penguins were upset with the way Fleury was injured, getting knocked into by Pittsburgh center Tyler Kennedy, who was pushed by Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, with 51 seconds left in the period.
Left wing Matt Cooke shoved Gionta 31 seconds into the third period with the Penguins holding a 1-0 lead and was called for roughing. However, Montreal failed to score on the last power-play opportunity for either team as it failed to get off a shot.
"I certainly don't like the fact that we ended up taking a penalty but it was clear we took exception and I like that aspect of it," Bylsma said. "I know our guys were up for killing that penalty. They went over the boards with the mindset they were going to kill it."
Gionta insisted he did nothing wrong.
"If you watch the replay, their guy falls on Fleury and it's pretty much self-explanatory," Gionta said.
Crosby scored at 13:19 of the second period as he streaked down the right side on a two-on-one rush, took a pass from Chris Kunitz at the blue line and rifled a snap shot past goaltender Carey Price.
It was Crosby's 15th goal of the season, extending his NHL-leading point total to 54.
Price played well, stopping 24 shots on goal, but Montreal couldn't score against Fleury and Vokoun.
"We had a fairly good effort," Gionta said. "It was a tough breakdown for their goal, but we've got to score goals to win and we just weren't able get that second and third opportunity."
The Penguins were playing their first game since making two trades designed to improve their size, toughness and defense. They dealt for Dallas Stars center Brenden Morrow on Sunday and San Jose Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray on Monday.
Morrow made his Penguins' debut Tuesday and played 12:55 after spending his entire 13-year career with the Stars. Murray is expected to play Thursday night when Pittsburgh hosts the Winnipeg Jets.
"It was a like a playoff game," Morrow said. "You had two really good teams playing each other with a lot of intensity. It was a lot of fun to play in a game like this."
NOTES: Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang (lower body) was activated from injured reserve after missing three games. ... Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (upper body) sat out his ninth straight game. ... Pittsburgh reassigned forward Trevor Smith and defenseman Simon Despres to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League to clear rosters spots for Letang and Brenden Morrow. Despres ranked second among NHL rookies with a plus-10 and had two goals and seven points in 24 games. ... Center Jeff Halpern was in uniform for Montreal after being claimed off waivers from the New York Rangers last Saturday and played 14:51. ... Four injured Canadiens did not make the trip: left wings Rene Bourque (concussion) and Brandon Prust (separated left shoulder), right wing Ryan White (lower body) and defenseman Rapahel Diaz (concussion). ... Canadiens coach Michael Therrien returned to Pittsburgh for the first time since the Penguins fired him with 25 games remaining in the 2008-09 season. Bylsma was promoted from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup championship. ... Along with Bourque, right wing Mike Bluden and defenseman Tomas Kaberle were scratched for Montreal ... Murray was a scratch for the Penguins as well as center Joe Vitale and defensemen Robert Bortuzzo.