Evgeni Malkin scored on a power play to break a scoreless draw early in the first period and Marc-Andre Fleury made 18 saves to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a mostly uneventful 2-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL playoffs on Tuesday night.
Pascal Dupuis added a late empty-net goal for the Penguins, who showed they can play defensive hockey as well as Montreal.
The Pens lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal 2-1 with Game 4 set for Thursday night at what has proven to be a noisy Bell Centre.
By 6:10, when the first "Crosby sucks!" chant went up from the upper reaches of the arena bowl, the anticipation had built to an electricity you feel in the air just before a thunderstorm.
Warm-up, just after 6:30, and the rafters were shaking, though the place was still only half full.
And then came the crescendo of the Canadiens stepping onto the ice just after 7 p.m. for Tuesday's game, and this much was clear: NASA might soon be cancelling the U.S. shuttle program, but you can always come here during the playoffs and sit on the pad beneath a rocket launch.
Malkin, who had been quiet in the first two games in Pittsburgh, ended a four-game scoring drought to help the Penguins wrest back the home-ice advantage they had given up with a 3-1 loss at home on Sunday afternoon.
It wasn't pretty hockey as neither team opened up its attack, and the Penguins allowed few good chances on Fleury, while Jaroslav Halak was strong in a losing effort as Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 25-18.