Montreal and Pittsburgh were both looking for their first win of the season as the two playoff rivals squared off in the Steel City. Although the Penguins pressed in the latter stages of the game and seemed en-route to victory late in the third, two quick goals turned things around and led the Canadiens to a 3-2 triumph.
The first period saw both teams take a noteworthy amount of penalties, leading to some good scoring chances and equally good saves. Most notably, Carey Price made a lunging glove save off a close-range Sidney Crosby slapshot. Eventually, though, the deadlock was broken late in the frame by Michael Cammalleri, who accepted a slick pass from behind the net courtesy of linemate Tomas Plekanec. However, the Penguins responded promptly, scoring a mere 40 seconds into the second period. After a nice passing play between Goligoski and Crosby, Evegni Malkin fired a powerful one-timer past the Canadiens’ netminder. Both squads had a fair amount of shots in the period, but the Penguins’ confidence grew as the period progressed and they began having the better of the chances. This momentum spilled over into the final period and saw the Penguins take the lead. Mark Letetsu cut through the middle of the ice and put a farside shot past the Canadiens’ keeper. The one goal advantage would hold until Michael Cammaleri deflected a Josh Gorges point shot past Marc-Andre Fleury, tying the game with less than three minutes remaining. Then, 24 seconds later, Scott Gomez came streaking down the left-wing and put a weak shot between Fleury’s pads, restoring the Canadiens lead and allowing for the team’s first win of the year.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1. Carey Price Not only does Carey Price deserve mention for his two stunning glove saves on Sidney Crosby but also because, like in Toronto, he showed a combativeness rarely seen last season. Two games make not a season, but that certainly is encouraging.
Statline: 36 saves on 38 shots, .947 save percentage.
2. Michael Cammalleri Cammalleri probably wishes the Penguins were in the Northeast Division so he could play against them more often. More importantly, the Canadiens offensive star found a way to get in scoring areas and gives the squad an extra weapon in their arsenal. If only Pouliot, Gionta, Gomez and Kostisyn could start contributing now.
Statline: 2 goals, 4 shots, +2, 16:53 TOI
3. P.K Subban The kid has played only four regular season games in his career, yet he is already being booed. We are used to hearing the Bell Centre faithful boo the likes of Chara or Kovalev, but admittedly, it is kind of nice to have a Canadiens player being booed for a change. While he remains a tad overzealous at times, he nonetheless played a very good game, moved the puck well, kept his composure in spite of the crowd and almost had a goal.
Statline: 3 shots, -1, 2 hits, 2 giveaways, 24:20 TOI
HM. Josh Gorges Unspectacular as always, Josh Gorges played in his usual, low-key style, made some good shot blocks and managed to contribute on the scoresheet to boot.
Statline: 1 assist, +2, 3 blocked shots, 1 hit, 1 giveawa, 23:51 TOI
Final Thought: Thank goodness for Cammalleri and Plekanec, who were the only top forwards to generate offensive chances with any sort of regularity. Beyond Gomez’s fluke goal, very little was created by the other players. Andrei Kostitsyn continues to show an inabitlity to go towards the front of the net or get involved along the boards and Benoit Pouliot is perplexing at best. Marc-Andre Fleury will not always be there to give presents to the Canadiens and the offense will have to provide more goals than it has so far. It is early to be talking about trends, but it certainly is something that needs to be addressed in the coming games.