Habs Have 4th Game Charm, Down Pens 3-2


The flight home will be filled with smiles and inspiration for the Montreal Canadiens, as they ended their 4th road game with a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

5 minutes and 45 seconds into the 1st period and Max Pacioretty put a quick one-timer right through Marc-Andre Fleury. Incredible pass reception from Brendan Gallagher at the start of the play turned around and found Pacioretty up high.

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A Habs power play from Sergei Plotnikov‘s interference with Nathan Beaulieu halfway through the period quickly turned into a 4-on-4 from David Desharnais‘ interference with Nick Bonino. The PP was doing absolutely nothing for Montreal but despite limited shots on net, the Habs still came out as the strong team.

The Pacioretty-Plekanec-Gallagher line as well as the EllerGalchenyukSemin line were solid, combining for a positive 7 Corsi rating with 25 shot attempts. The Penguins seemed to struggle in the offense department, especially Sidney Crosby who was denied any goal opportunities on Carey Price.

The period ended with the Habs taking the 1-0 lead and a 7-4 lead in shots.

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  • After Beau Bennett‘s tie 5 minutes and 31 seconds into the second, the Penguins started an attack in the Montreal zone with strong pressure on the forecheck, generating 10 shots on goal. Pittsburgh was looking like an entirely different team than what they showed in the 1st 20 minutes.

    While all of the Habs’ beautiful 1st period work had been wiped clean halfway through the 2nd, Pittsburgh’s too many men on the ice put the Habs on their 2nd PP of the night, where Pacioretty’s snipe gave Montreal a 2-1 lead.

    Kris Letang came back a minute and 24 seconds later with a knuckling wrist shot past Price. The Habs slowly got back on track but in the end, the final few seconds of shot attempts just couldn’t be turned into another 1 point lead. While the tie stayed still, the Penguins ended the period leading 15-12 in shots.

    Oct 13, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec (14) celebrates a goal by left wing Max Pacioretty (not pictured) as Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) reacts during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    In a great effort to track down the puck, Desharnais striped the rubber from Sergei Plotnikov, giving the perfect feed to Tomas Fleischmann who gave the Habs their lead back 5 minutes and 20 seconds into the 3rd. The fact that it was also Fleischmann’s 1st goal as a Canadien made the 1 point lead even sweeter.

    The Habs were creating another solid period for themselves, especially on the penalty kill during Devante Smith-Pelly‘s tripping penalty 7 minutes in. Crosby was also showing his furious side on the ice, as he still was being denied any chance for a goal against Montreal, something the captain hasn’t experienced on home ice since playing for the Penguins.

    After many turnovers coming out of their end of the ice, the Penguins were fighting in the final 5 minutes for OT, but Price’s leather and the Habs’ incredible offensive play was no match for them.

    Montreal ended the game with a 3-2 win and winning 4-0 for the 1st time since the 77-78 season.

    From the hockey fan point of view, it was surprising seeing a strong team like Pittsburgh being beaten by Montreal and that’s not because I don’t have faith in Montreal. The fact of the matter is that throughout the 2014-15 season, the Penguins always looked stronger than the Habs on the ice. They always had a great PK, great defensive and offensive minutes, and just looked overall magical.

    The Canadiens fan point of view, however, is absolutely delighted. It’s about time cry baby Crosby puts on his big boy pants and realizes that losing to a team who’s fighting hard to be better than they were in the past few years isn’t a bad thing. You’ve got the fame, you’ve got the skills, you can take a loss and a miss or 2 every once in a while.

    Now, I can talk about how amazing captain ‘Patches’ and ‘Lord Price’ were, but the one player that really caught my eye was Tomas Plekanec. With only 6 minutes and 44 seconds of ice time in the 1st period, he won 6 of 9 face-offs and was +1. Let’s face it, Plekanec haters: he’s a regular season gem. He produces points throughout the season and plays tough defensive minutes along with being great at penalty killing. Sure, he’s 32 and has his “does anyone have any advil?” moments, but Plekanec is strong two-way player so don’t be shocked if (and when) he’s given a contract extension before the summer.

    What did you think about tonight’s 4th road win? Are the Canadiens capable of keeping this streak going on home ice? Let us know in the comments below!

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