Montreal 1 Pittsburgh 3 (Bell Centre)
posted by Rocket
Prior to the game, I was asked for my expectations. With respect to Pittsburgh, I felt that the Penguins had more to play for including home ice advantage and individual statistics for Evgeni Malkin.
I was worried about a letdown for the Habs after the Bruins game which was both physical and emotional.
I take no joy in being correct tonight and I didn't imagine the marked disparity in play between the two teams.
The Canadiens were outshot 34-to-13 in the first 40 minutes of the game. The Habs' players really didn't seem to have their heads in the game. Yet the score was tied 1-1.
It was due to a very special night of goaltending by Carey Price. He was simply superb! In the second period, Price made two unbelievable saves on Matt Cooke and later on Bill Guerin. Price's lateral quickness was amazing. The Bell Centre faithful chanted Ca-Rey! Ca-Rey!
Price's play held the Canadiens in the game until they woke up in the third period.
The Habs did have scoring opportunities in the third, but couldn't bury their chances. Georges Laraque was used on the power-play and with his stone hands couldn't put rebounds past Fleury. Laraque's ineptness as a scorer may be understandable, but Maxim Lapierre had similar problems connecting on numerous chances he had from short range.
The Canadiens power-play looked disorganized and was ineffective. They were 0-for-3 on the night and gave up three 2-on-1 breaks to Penguins penalty-killers. Worst of all, the power-play allowed two short-handed goals, on the same Habs power-play!
The Canadiens defense looked disinterested.
What was Roman Hamrlik doing roaming high, and leaving Malkin all alone on the Penguins first goal? Price made a good save on Malkin's tip of the point shot, but Malkin shouldn't be given a second chance to score on the rebound.
Mike Komisarek had eight giveaways; Mathieu Dandenault had five and Josh Gorges had three.
Some commentators worried about Yannick Weber being able to cope with physical play. Weber's two hits were more than Hamrlik, Georges, Dandenault, and Schneider.
Bob Gainey made the understatement of the year when he said his team suffered from a "lack of sharpness."
The only thing remembered from this game should be the stellar play of Carey Price. Bring on the Bruins!
Starting lineup: Metropolit, Higgins, Kovalev, Dandenault, Gorges
Carey Price and Marc-Andre Fleury started in goal.
O'Byrne, Brisebois, and Tanguay were scratched from the lineup. Sergei Kostitsyn, and Markov were out with injuries. Bouillon and Lang are on injured reserve.
Rocket's three stars:
1. Carey Price
2. Pascal Dupuis
3. Kristopher Letang
(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)