Thursday, January 6, 2011

Game 42: Canadiens 2, Pens 1

It's a point...



Canadiens- 1
-Benoit Pouliot (Darche, Desharnais) 2-12:28
Penguins- 1
-Arron Asham (Lovejoy, Goligoski) 1-2:14

Cammalleri- X
Letang- X
Subban- X
Dupuis- X
Gionta- X
Malkin- X
Kostitsyn- X
Letestu- X
Pouliot- O
Kunitz- X


Canadiens- Price
W- Price (31-32) (5-5)
Penguins- Johnson
L- Johnson (22-23) (4-5)

Pens- 0/2 (4:00)
Habs- 0/5 (8:00)

1st Period
-Game underway. No Sid (upper body) or Cooke (personal). Engelland starting at fwd.
-Asham gets the Pens on the board early with a rebound that looked way too easy. The Habs just let him walk right in. Lovejoy took the original shot. 1-0 Pens
-Kostitsyn looked like he was on a breakaway but tripped. Johnson has no problem clearing the puck. 15 min to go.
-Engelland indeed out with the 4th line. Game continues to be back and forth up the ice through the first 9 minutes. Line changes becoming important.
-Habs almost look like they are in desperation mode right now. Taking no time to set any plays up and just firing all kinds of awkward looking shots at Johnson whenever they can.
-Kennedy behind the net feeds it to Staal but Jordan hits the post. Still 1-0 with 7 min to go.
-Pacioretty comes streaking down the ice and tries a wrap around. Johnson makes a series of acrobatic saves to end the scoring opportunity.
-Kostitsyn with another chance but Johnson denies it with his arm.
-Period over already. Pens dominated the shots 13-5.

Notes: No complaints with this period. The defense looks spectacular tonight and they aren't letting the Habs get many legitimate shots off. Johnson is sharp. The new lines have yet to find much chemistry but just about everyone is working hard out there so things are moving well. I suspect the Habs will make some adjustments at intermission so the Pens should be ready for a bit more of a challenge in the 2nd.

2nd Period
-Habs' Moen with the first legitimate chance of the period. Tried a wraparound but Johnson stuck the pad out to kick it aside. Goligoski's stick also in the mix.
-Malkin turnover turns into 3 good shorthanded shots for Montreal. Great job by Johnson to deny all of them.
-Pens powerplay finishes without much of a strain to Price.
-Spacek winds and fires and hits the pipe. Pens immediately counter-attack and Malkin is stopped on a breakaway chance.
-Lovejoy to the box. Habs firing like mad on their powerplay but they can't seem to hit the net much. Pens PK takes control for the last 40 sec of the penalty.
-Johnson gives up a rebound opportunity but then regains his bearings in time to stop Moen in front.
-Puck bounces right to the waiting stick of Pouliot. He fires it off Johnson's shoulder and in. 1-1
-Johnson knocked over in front of the net by Gionta's foot. A bit slow to get up but eventually regains his footing. 6 min to go
-Letestu with a great backcheck on Subban. Prevented a scoring opportunity for sure. Pens starting to pick it up but still not quite where they were in the 1st.
-Period ends at 1-1. Pens looked a bit better at the end.

Notes: As I said in the 1st, Montreal made some adjustments and dominated the 1st 15 minutes of this period. They continued to shoot from just about everywhere imaginable but every now and then they got that one opportunity and did convert on 1. The Pens new lines continued to struggle to find chemistry together. Physical play certainly picked up at the end of the period. Malkin needs to stop looking for that perfect play and take what the defense is giving him. I'd say Kennedy, Asham, and Letestu have been the most impressive Pens through 2.

3rd Period
-Kennedy tripped. First chance of the powerplay Malkin had an open net but he waited just a second too long to shoot. Price makes the save.
-The rest of the Pens powerplay looked like the Habs powerplay because they controlled the puck the entire time.
-Pens respond with a superb penalty kill of their own.
-Kennedy absolutely flying on a breakaway. Spacek dives to trip him and injures himself on the goal cage. The most absurd thing is that there was no penalty called on that.
-Orpik with a nice play to break up a 2 on 1.
-Goligoski off for hooking around the halfway mark. Johnson shoots the puck over the glass a few seconds later. Montreal to the 2 man advantage.
-Adams blocks 2 huge slapshots and Orpik blocks another.
-Just when the Pens have almost killed off the entire 5 on 3, they take another penalty for delay of game. Questionable call though because the puck went into the bench area. Nonetheless, back to work for Pittsburgh's PK unit.
-Pens with another fantastic call. Kunitz with a shorthanded chance but he was hooked up. No call but finally back to even strength.
-Letang singlehandedly dominates the next shift but just unable to beat Price. 6 min to go
-Gomez gets his stick between the feet of Malkin and Geno goes down hard. Looks like a groin injury. No call.
-Malkin back out for his next shift. Hopefully this injury won't be something to worry about in the future.
-That's it for regulation. Both get a point right now.

Notes: Pens looked a lot better this period. Absolutely clutch penalty killing in the middle of the period and then they tried to get some offense going at the end. I'm happy with the point. I think Johnson is playing well enough the hopefully we can get 2 but can't argue with the point on the 2nd day of a back-to-back


-Malkin tries to juggle the puck in the air into the offensive zone. Almost worked but not quite.
-Cammalleri point blank shot but just wide.
-Wisniewski fires a huge slapshot but rejected by Johnson.
-No score at the end of a very quick OT

Notes: Back and forth just like the rest of the game. Both of these goalies are going to be hard to beat in the shootout.


-Cammalleri shoots from quite a way out and Johnson sticks the pad out to stop him. SAVE
-Letang slows down on his approach, maybe lost his balance a bit and shoots it right at Price. SAVE
-Subban goes very wide left and cuts across the crease but Johnson holds his balance long enough to stop it. SAVE
-Dupuis comes in very fast, tries to deke but just missed the net. MISS
-Gionta comes flying up the middle and tries a very late deke but Johnson got the stick and pads out to deny him. SAVE
-Malkin with a great deke on Price but he really didn't even shoot it. MISS
-Kostitsyn comes in from the right side and whiffs. MISS
-Letestu patiently walks in and tries glove side but Price snagged it with the mit. SAVE
-Pouliot pulls a nifty little move. Total extension of the stick. GOAL
-Kunitz shoots it right at Price. SAVE

Final Thoughts and Notes:
-Great move by Pouliot. That's all there is about that.
-Both goalies deserve a pat on the back after tonight.
-Malkin was just a little bit off all night long.
-Staal is picking up his physical game now that he is on his 3rd start.
-Kennedy and Letestu were impressive in their elevated roles tonight.
-Kunitz and Dupuis were both non-factors (except on the penalty kill) and didn't really help Letestu much.
-Can't say enough good things about the penalty killers.
-Starting Engelland at forward over Godard was a good idea in my book.

Side note: Bylsma said in his post game presser that Sid has a mild concussion and will miss "about a week." I wonder if it was the Steckel hit or the one yesterday by Hedman. My guess is Steckel

Line 1: B
Line 2: B+
Line 3: A
Line 4: B
D1: B
D2: B+
D3: B
Johnson: A
Powerplay: C
Penalty Kill: A+

Carey Price robbed Malkin on a breakaway midway through the 2nd. At the time he would have made it 2-0.

My 3 Stars
1. Carey Price
2. Benoit Pouliot
3. Brent Johnson

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