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Penguins get much-needed win over Canadiens

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bryan Rust and Drew O’Conner scored 21 seconds apart in the second period to break open a close game and the Pittsburgh Penguins gave their flagging postseason hopes a boost with a 4-1 win over the reeling Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

Pittsburgh, which began the day eight points out of a wild-card spot in the jumbled Eastern Conference with less than two months to go in the regular season, won for just the second time in its last seven games behind 31 saves from Tristan Jarry.

Mike Matheson collected his eighth goal of the season for Montreal. Cayden Primeau stopped 23 shots but the Canadiens lost for the sixth time in seven games.

Kris Letang atoned for a costly turnover that led to Matheson’s goal by scoring twice for the Penguins, who are hoping to provide first-year general manager/director of hockey operations Kyle Dubas a reason to bolster the roster before the March 8 trade deadline.

Pittsburgh will need a solid stretch to do it, something that’s been hard to come by during an uneven season in which consistency has been elusive.

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