Cole Caufield returned from a season at Laval and Mattias Norlinder played 17:39 in his NHL debut.

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The Montreal Canadiens were completely dismantled by the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 6-0 shutout loss at the Bell Center on Thursday. The Pens out-shot the Canadiens 43-24 in lopsided competition, and chased starter Cayden Primeau after two stints. Teddy Blueger led the way offensively with two goals and one assist.

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Primeau was collateral damage in a disappointing performance by the reeling Canadiens. With the loss, the Habs fell to 4-13-2 on the season. Coach Dominique Ducharme hoped that an infusion of youth, in the form of Cole Caufield and Mattias Norlinder, would bring renewed energy to the lineup. A day earlier, the team lost Adam Brooks on waivers to the Vegas Golden Knights, and Alex Belzile was sent to Laval to make room for Caufield.

Sidney Crosby started scoring at 3:36 in the first. Following a turnover in the neutral zone, the Pens captain completed a deft passing play with linemates Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel to put his team on the board.

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Moments after a penalty to Joel Armia expired, John Marino fired a point so hard on the back boards that the puck bounced off the groove and right off the post of Danton Heinen, who beat a surprised Primeau for a 2- lead. 0.

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With less than a minute to go in the first, the Penguins found themselves in a slowly developing 4v2 in the Montreal area. Guentzel fired the puck while leaning on his back foot, but defender Kristopher Letang served as an unlikely screen and the puck found itself in the back of the net. The period ended 3-0.

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The penguins added two in the second period. Ben Chiarot and Jeff Petry lost their positioning in the defensive zone, giving a 2-0 to Blueger and Zach Aston-Reese. Blueger scored his first of two to make it 4-0. Chiarot was -4 and Petry -3 at night.

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Less than three minutes later, the Penguins continued to pile up as Brock McGinn alone up front redirected a shot from Michael Matheson for Penguin’s fifth goal of the night.

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Primeau was replaced by Samuel Montembeault to start the third. It was an uneventful period, but with 10 seconds remaining, Blueger slipped through the Montreal defense with both teams halfway off the bench and scored on the ensuing breakaway to add insult to injury.

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The Habs season hit a new low Thursday night. I’ll give up my time and allow Liveblog commenters to speak their minds:

“I’m booing on my TV screen” -Ryan Katz

“Well, I don’t know how much more the Montreal faithful can take. But logic tells me it’s time for a complete rebuild. Fire Bergevin, the entire coaching staff and Timmins. Bring in a new general manager, not an intern. Then start getting rid of all the dead wood that Bergevin has accumulated over the last 9 years. There are not many goalkeepers here, but you have to keep some younger and veteran players. Actually, this should have happened 5 years ago, but Bergevin was always blessed with his mediocre exchanges. Always do like next year will be the year. I’ll give this to Bergevin, he’s a genius at teasing the eyes of Molson and many Montreal fans. This is disgusting to watch, a team with the richest history, sinking so low. Bravo Molson, bravo. “-Mark Real Smith

“Change GM, start the sale like a lame duck can’t do this. Specifically exchange Price and Petry on the deadline for anything, there are 16 million. If they win some here and there, keep the coach. But being knocked out, losing 8 in a row, having no effort, or the organization on the ice can’t last and the coach will leave as well. “-Kyle Davidson

Molson needs to fire Bergevin tonight. Your office will be cleaned for you. 10 years and this is the result. I know we reached the final last year. Rick Green said it before. They are not playing in the Canadian division this year. “-Derek Stevens

“If this season continues, the wife will probably force me to keep the bag that she insists I have to wear to watch games at bedtime.” -Chris James

“Just coming back from a horticultural society meeting, I was expecting good news when I logged in… two reasons to look forward to an early spring: the flowers will bloom and we will all be out of our misery when the Habs season is over! “-Haari Meech

“4-13-2 equates to a 43-point season. “To you, from hands that fail you, we throw the torch at you.” Bergevin and Molson have dropped and buried that torch. “-Mike Sampson

“If I go to hell when I die, I will have to watch Habs reruns for the 2021-2022 season.” -Chris James

“A 2-0 break as a result of extremely broken coverage results in a 4-0 lead. I think Primeau is looking forward to getting back to the AHL where Laval doesn’t hang the goalie completely to dry. “-Michael Way

“A comment made today on one of Toronto’s sports radio shows was how soft the Habs are this year and other teams are exposing that weakness. I couldn’t argue with them. “-Bob Taylor

“At this point, I am grateful that my father passed away. This team would have killed him. “-Marc Taillefer

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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