The Montreal Canadiens were completely dominated by the Pittsburgh Penguins last night. The Eastern Conference leading Pens improved their home record to 21-4-0 with one of their easiest victories of the season.
Jokinen opened the scoring and Taylor Pyatt made it 2-0 on a power play in the first period. The Habs were able to get within one when Daniel Briere stickhandled around the Penguins net and slid a nice pass for Rene Bourque who tapped it home. It was as close as the Habs would get however, as things got ugly for them in the second.
Jokinen scored his 15th of the year on a one timer, and the Penguins duo of Malkin and Sidney Crosby would each find the back of the net to end Carey Price’s night early. Price made 16 saves on 21 shots before being relieved for Peter Budaj who stopped all 10 shots he faced.
The two teams would skate to a scoreless third period but it was not without action. With five minutes remaining and a scrum ensuing in Marc Andre Fleury’s crease, Budaj came out to center ice and gave the Pens netminder a “ya wanna go” glance. Fleury obliged and made his way out of the Penguins zone only to be held back by officials before the fun could begin.
It was fitting for the night, as the Canadiens were also stopped short before they could even get started last night.
The loss leaves the Habs still clinging to third place in the Atlantic Division, but they continue to fall behind second place Tampa Bay. Worse, the teams behind the Canadiens in the standings have all but caught up. Not long ago the Habs had a commanding hold on a playoff spot, but they are now just five points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings who are not in a playoff position.
The Canadiens next game is in Detroit, tomorrow night. With a regulation loss, the Habs will be just three points ahead of non playoff teams.