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CANADIENS vs PENGUINS – Mar 26, 2006


This game is somewhat of a puzzle in its anticipation. On the one hand, our boys took out VERY handily the Leafs in the last two games. They scored an unexpected 11 goals in those two games and allowed only one Leafs power play goal. On the other hand, the Penguins have had more than their share of success against the Canadiens. Will the MARCH OF THE PENGUINS continue or will the Canadiens take a big bite out of the no-flying birds like Rebel1968’s avatar?

Of note, Jan Bulis and Niklas Sundstrom are back in the line-up after being a healthy scratch for a couple of games. Ribeiro is the healthy scratch tonight.

*2 – early pressure by the Penguins (4 shots on Aebischer in 1st 2 minutes)

3 – PENGUINS PENALTY (Surovy – holding)

4 – CANADIENS GOAL (Higgins – power play)


9 – PENGUINS PENALTY (Whitney – hooking)

12 – fast back & forth skating and shots

14 – small pressure by the Canadiens

15 – small pressure by the Penguins

16 – CANADIENS PENALTY (Murray – hooking)

19 – Really close call by Bonk

20 – CANADIENS PENALTY (Kovalev – hooking)

*the numbers are minutes indicators and are approximate.



A very strong outing by the Canadiens albeit aided by two penalties in a row near the beginning of the period. The fact that the Canadiens scored first went a long way to set the tone for the game so far. The Canadiens’ two goals took place in a span of 41 seconds – a reminder of the last game against the Leafs.

Bonk seems to be a reborn player of sorts – he’s found, in the last few games, an offensive sense that was sorely missing up till now. A major factor to the Canadiens success continues to be the hunger of the younger players. Also, Aebischer did his job well at the beginning of the period. He stopped the Penguins early pressure and allowed his fellow players to be able to take the lead. It’s to be hoped that he’s found the confidence needed to adapt to his new team.


– Canadiens 9 Total 9

– Lightning 8 8


– MTL, C. HIGGINS (14) (S. KOIVU, M. RYDER), 04:24

– MTL, R. BONK (4) (N. SUNDSTROM, M. STREIT), 05:05


*41 seconds – PENGUINS GOAL (Armstrong – power play)

3 – CANADIENS GOAL (Higgins)

4 – CANADIENS PENALTY (Bulis – hooking)

9 – PENGUINS GOAL (Surovy – power play)

9 – PENGUINS PENALTY (Surovy – holding)

11 – CANADIENS GOAL (Kovalev – power play)

12 – PENGUINS PENALTY (Orpik – hooking)

13 – PENGUINS GOAL (Armstrong – short-handed)

16 – continued domination by the Penguins

17 – close call by Ryder on Gonchar give-away

18 – PENGUINS PENALTY (Surovy – hooking)

19 – Penguins threaten Aebischer’s net again due to defensive mix-up
20 – CANADIENS GOAL (Kovalev – power play – deflected off a Penguins defender)

*the numbers are minutes indicators and are approximate.


This period was a special teams festival. We were witness to four power play goals (two by each team) and one short-handed goal (by the Penguins).

Aebischer looked somewhat weak on at least one of the goals but the whole weight of those let-downs didn’t rest only on his shoulders. Though he may have struggled with his rebound control, the Penguins goals were usually a result of a thoroughly confused defense in front of him. Souray, especially, struggled with his defensive coverage in this period.

Of note, it looks like Streit is fitting in more and more comfortably. He is especially effective during the power play. His even strength play is no worse than the play of his fellow defensemen. Bulis is doing his best to make sure that his re-entry on slide by our team. He’s skating hard and he’s hitting hard. One hit of his which looked like a hit from behind led directly to a Canadiens goal.


– Canadiens 14 Total 23

– Lightning 16 24



– MTL, C. HIGGINS (16) (S. KOIVU, S. SOURAY), 03:14

– PIT, T. SUROVY (11) (M. OUELLET, N. WELCH), 06:04

– MTL, A. KOVALEV (19) (M. STREIT, R. ZEDNIK), 10:51

– PIT, C. ARMSTRONG (12) (A. HILBERT), 12:51

– MTL, A. KOVALEV (20) , 19:40



*2 – PENGUINS GOAL (Welch)

3 – PENGUINS PENALTY (Endicott – tripping)

4 – Penguins threaten again on the penalty kill

6 – Penguins continue to force the play on the Canadiens

7 – broken play

8 – Penguins goal refused – redirected by the hand

8 – fight between Souray & Ryan Malone (five minutes each)

9-12 – continued intense pressure by the Penguins

12 – Canadiens still have only one shot on net this period


14 – PENGUINS GOAL (Leclair)

15-16 – continued pressure by the Penguins

17 – CANADIENS PENALTY (Zednik – hooking)

18 – Penguins empty net

19 – PENGUINS PENALTY (Gonchar – interference)

*the numbers are minutes indicators and are approximate.


The third period wasn’t a memorable one for Canadiens. The Penguins showed much more intensity like they did in the second period and totally dominated the play. The Canadiens defense continued to struggle, especially Sheldon Souray. Frustratingly, David Aebischer struggled with some of the basics of his game (positioning & especially rebound control). Then again, the same thing might be said for Marc-André Fleury and Pittsburg’s defensive corps.

Sadly, probably a good thing that happened for the Canadiens this period was the fact that Souray was out of the game for the five minutes of his fighting major. He had a very difficult night and was directly implicated in several of the Penguins’ goals. It’s to be hoped that the short rest will be sufficient for him and the rest of the defensive corps so as to see them come back and control Yashin, Satan & the rest of the Islanders.


– Canadiens 2 Total 25

– Lightning 11 35


– PIT, N. WELCH (1) (J. MELICHAR, S. CROSBY), 01:39

– MTL, M. RYDER (28) (M. DANDENAULT, S. KOIVU), 13:00

– PIT, J. LECLAIR (17) (K. KOLTSOV, R. MALONE), 14:05


Five games in seven nights have taken a bit of a toll on our team. Fatigue most certainly had an impact on our players. Sydney Crosby’s presence continues to be evident with his passes and intensity. He led and inspired his team to a very successful season over his ‘favourite’ team. The Penguins’ domination of our team has been so dominant that this hard fought and barely maintained victory by the Canadiens was the only one over the Penguins this year.

As a result of this win and the victory of the Leafs over the Devils, the Canadiens find themselves tied for 7th place with New Jersey. In so far as I understand, if the season were to finish today, our team would finish 7th based upon a better goals for record. Even more encouraging is the fact that the Canadiens are only two points behind Tampa Bay and 6th place. If our boys do finish in 6th, they would be meeting either the Flyers or the Rangers who, in my opinion are the two top finishing teams most likely to fold in the 1st round. On the other hand, though it’s not likely, it’s possible to see the Canadiens slide to 12th. This string of three victories is by no means a guarantee of a place in the playoffs. We must never lose sight of the fact that 9th place is only three points away. The Canadiens’ ‘magic number’, in my calculations, is 10 with 11 games to go.

‘See’ you at the Bell Center for the game against the Islanders.


1 – Higgins

2 – Armstrong

3 – Koivu