Another early start for the Canadiens provided enough to hold on for a point against the Penguins and after the longest shootout in team history the Habs also picked up the bonus point thanks to Andrei Markov and Carey Price. Montreal scored the first goal of the game on what appeared to be a harmless 3 on 2. Andrei Kostitsyn fumbled the puck when crossing the blue line but somehow it ended up on the stick of Mathieu Dandenault. Dandenault wasted with his wrist shot blasting it far said on Marc-Andre Fleury. Mike Komisarek also picked up an assist on the goal.
Four minutes later the Canadiens doubled the lead courtesy of an Andrei Markov back hand shot eleven seconds into the Canadiens 2nd power play. Chris Higgins and Saku Koivu picked up assists while Jordan Stall was in the box for elbowing. The horn went and Carbonneau must have been happy as the Canadiens had another excellent start out shooting the Penguins 14-6 in the first period and preventing Pittsburgh from even getting a sniff at a scoring chance.
Montreal continued their play early in the second period as Michael Ryder lifted the Habs to a 3-0 lead with laser like wrist shot into the top right corner just 49 seconds into the period….but this was the moment where the game changed. Michel Therrien replaced Fleury with Danny Sabourin which seemed to light a fire under the Penguins.
A little less then three minutes after the goalie change Petr Sykora knocked down an Evgeni Malkin pass and slid the puck between the legs of Carey Price. Price was visibly disappointed in himself for allowing what he must believe to be a weak one. The next however was not what anyone could describe as weak. Sydney Crosby and Malkin worked the give and go together at full speed rushing into the Canadiens zone Price was helpless to stop the shot Crosby slid along the ice into the gaping cage.
With the Canadiens on their heels and showing the effects of playing two quick skating teams on back to back nights the Penguins continued to take it to the Canadiens in the third period but were unable to generate many scoring chances do to the Habs collapsing defence and timely shot blocking… well for the first 16 minutes anyways. Then the Canadiens who were so disciplined all game took two costly penalty’s the first a too-many men on the ice and the second a slashing penalty to Steve Begin.
With their net empty the Penguins finally equalized the game when Evgeni Malkin for the third consecutive time set up a Penguins goal. This time it was Ryan Whitney who was the benefactor of the young Russians superb vision.
Overtime begun and the Montreal caught a break as Ryan Malone hooked Saku Koivu sending the Habs to the power play, GAME OVER right?
Barley 2 shots on goal and not a single great scoring chance.
Bring on the Shootout.
Price was big, so big that five Penguins shooters could not even hit the net and Sergei Gonchar elected not to shoot at all. Sabourin was no slouch as he stopped the first 7 Canadiens shooters, only one he could not stop was Andrei Markov who scored his “second” of the night.
1. Malkin- Three primary assists he was the best player on the ice tonight.
2. Dandenault – Earning his spot in the line up now on a goal scoring streak… yeah 2 goals in 2 games!
3. Markov- Scored his fourth of the year and oh yeah won the Canadiens the bonus point.