Although the prospect of the Montreal Canadiens making the playoffs prior to the NHL’s closure was but a pipe dream, they have been given a second chance, and it is one they are not looking to waste.
The NHL has made it clear they are in full support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, as exemplified throughout the games on the first day of the qualifiers, and the Canadiens-Penguins match was no exception and played a moving video on racial inequality going on in the world prior to puck drop.
The Montreal Canadiens began the game with a jump to their game that was missing in their exhibition matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Pittsburgh Penguins responded with equal intensity while running away with the lead in shots on goal, but Carey Price was there to shut them down.
Brendan Gallagher had almost set up a second goal but mishandled the puck before being able to take the shot.
A power play was granted to the Montreal Canadiens left with a little over 5 minutes remaking in the first period. The Canadiens struggled mightily on the man’s advantage during their tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs and led to a loss. Although they did not score, it did not hamper their momentum over the Penguins early on.
The Pittsburgh Penguins then had their own turn at the power play with a more convincing performance to accompany, but Carey Price continued to keep them off the scoreboard.
The period concluded with the Montreal Canadiens leading 1-0.
The Montreal Canadiens extended their lead 2-0 with an incredibly accurate top-corner shot by playoff rookie Nick Suzuki.
Per Sportsnet Stats, this is just the second game in the history of the Canadiens franchise, where multiple players score in their Stanley Cup Playoffs debut. The first time took place in 2008 with Andrei Kostitsyn, Sergei Kostitsyn, Tom Kostopoulos in their series against the Boston Bruins. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki were the two to do so against the Penguins.
The Penguins managed to get past Price after the Habs’ second goal cutting the lead 2-1. It appeared as if the Canadiens were distracted by a delayed penalty call that made it all the more eas for Sidney Crosby to put his team on the board.
The Montreal Canadiens proceeded to lose their lead as Bryan Rust tied the game at 12:34, remaining in the second period.
Things did not get much better later with the Canadiens surrendering another penalty (Jonathan Drouin) against the Penguins.
It was not a good start to the final period of play for the Montreal Canadiens as the Penguins went on a 5-on-3 powerplay in the first minute. Fortunately for the Canadiens, they managed to keep the game tied.
Both teams proceeded to exchange penalties and scoring chances for the latter half of the third period, but neither team was able to capitalize, sending the game into overtime.
The Pittsburgh Penguins came out with a great opportunity early on, but Carey Price was able to shut them down, as he did for most of the night.
Jonathan Drouin was given an opportunity to end the game with a penalty shot but faltered due to an overly complicated attempt to trick Penguins goaltender Matt Murray.
Jeff Petry was the one to end for the Montreal a Canadiens with a pass from Brendan Gallagher.
The Canadiens may have blew a 2-0 lead, but the managed to tighten back up defensively and get the win.
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The Montreal Canadiens are now leading their play-in series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They will have a chance to extend their series lead when game 2 takes place on August 3rd at 8:00 PM ET.