The Montreal Canadiens entered last night’s game with both the third ranked power play and third ranked penalty kill in the league… last night those number just got better and better. The Habs successfully killed all seven Penguins power plays all the while scoring four times on their seven opportunities.
Evgeni Malkin opened the scoring midway through the first period hypnotizing Craig Rivet with a drop pass then dancing around him prior to potting the rebound. Erik Christensen and Brooks Orpik picked up assists on the goal. Michel Ryder notched the game at one’s in the dying minutes of the opening frame on what was the Canadiens third shot of the game. Sidney Crosby picked up what turned out to be his only point with .2 seconds remaining the first period. Crosby sent a pass to Alain Nasreddine for his first career NHL goal. The first period ended with the Canadiens on their heels being out shot 17-3, thankfully number 39 bailed them out again.
But as Canadiens fans have become accustomed to this year the Habs pulled another Jekyll and Hyde performance. Andrei Markov can be credited for doing the lion’s share of the work as he set up three second period power play goals. The first was a cross ice pass to countryman Alex Kovalev which Kovalev blasted passed the helpless Penguins net minder. The second was a one timer set up for Sheldon Souray and the third a low shot deflected by Saku Koivu. Koivu also added an even strength goal. Erik Christensen and Maxim Lapierre swapped goals for their respective teams in the final stanza.
Tempers flared mid-way through the third period when Penguins agitator Jarkko Ruutu started a shoving match with Craig Rivet and Sheldon Souray. The Penguins earned their seventh and final power-play of the evening and Ruutu punched his ticket to the dressing room early as he was awarded a 10-minutes misconduct and a game-misconduct for the turtle like spectacle he put on. The Canadiens killed all seven Penguins power-plays.
1. Saku Koivu- Two more goals, he is well on his way to shatter his previous career high.
2. Andrei Markov- was a +1 picked up three primary assists and led the Canadiens in ice time.
3. Cristobal Huet- 31 saves, 15 of which were in the first period.
1. Saku Koivu extended his point streak to five games, he has six goals and three assists during the streak.
2. The Canadiens have scored three or more power-play goals four times this year and have won all of those games
3. Maxim Lapierre has now scored one point in each of his three games with the Canadiens this season.
4. Sidney Crosby has been held to one point or less only three times since November 13th, Crosby also ended his six game goal scoring streak.