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Penguins Pound Canadiens 6-2


It took Ron Francis 17 seasons to finally crack the top 10.

The Pittsburgh forward had a goal and three assists Wednesday night to pass Dale Hawerchuk and move into 10th place on the NHL's all-time scoring list as the Penguins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-2.

"It's nice to get it over with," said Francis, who now has 1,410 points (420 goals, 990 assists) in a career that has seen him play with just two teams, Pittsburgh and Hartford. He has 17 goals and 46 assists this season.

Next in Francis's sights is former Penguin and New York Islander Bryan Trottier, in ninth place with 1,425 career points.

"When you think about it, that's just amazing," Pittsburgh coach Kevin Constantine said of Francis's accomplishment. "He's done it with very little glitz and glamor, but it's been an amazing career."

Francis's linemates, Jaromir Jagr and Stu Barnes, also had productive games. Jagr scored twice and added two assists, and Barnes had two goals and an assist.

Robert Lang also scored for the Penguins, who broke open a 2-2 game with a pair of goals late in the second period.

Lang and Jagr were playing their first game since winning the gold medal with the Czech Republic at the Winter Olympics.

"They're both amazing players," Barnes said of Francis and Jagr. "For (Jagr) to come back like that after all the emotional and physical things he's been through shows you what a talented player he is."

Peter Popovic and Scott Thornton scored for the Canadiens, who are now 10 points behind first-place Pittsburgh in the Northeast Division.

"You've got to work hard till the end," said Montreal coach Alain Vigneault. "We didn't compete hard enough."

Montreal trailed 2-0 after the first period on goals by Lang and Barnes, but the Canadiens got goals less than two minutes apart midway through the second period to tie it.

Jagr scored at 15:30 to give the Penguins the lead for good, then Barnes followed with his second of the night to make it 4-2 at the end of two periods.

Montreal goalie Andy Moog was replaced by Jocelyn Thibault to start the third. Moog finished the night with just 13 saves on 17 shots.

The change in goalies didn't seem to affect the Penguins, who made it 5-2 just 46 seconds into the final period on a goal by Francis. Jagr rounded out the scoring with his second goal of the game at 11:08.

Pittsburgh goalie Tom Barrasso made 23 saves.

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