You are reading live from the press box from Mellon Arena on a glorious day in Pittsburgh. It was 67 degrees when we got of the car this afternoon. On Dec. 27. Two days after Christmas. It was like we fell asleep and woke up in the middle of April. It's a shame daylight was around for such a short time today.
-We spotted this poor soul out in front of Gate 3:
-That's a Josef Melichar jersey if it's not clear. And it was autographed too. Ugh...
-Alex Kovalev still has some fans here:
-There are plenty of Habs fans in the house. We had to have this young man's father translate for us that we wanted to take a picture of his Jose Theodore jersey:
-Just a heads up for Center Ice or Game Center subscribers. Tonight's game is on NHL Network. So chances are, you won't get it through your respective package.
-The Penguins will be wearing their throwback blue jerseys tonight.
-That's French for "Cotton Candy Here!!!! Cotton Candy Here!!!" if you didn't get it.
-One of the more unique aspects of the Canadiens is how much they are a bilingual team. All of their press materials are printed in French and English:
-In case you didn't check out the slight change in the scoring race overnight:
-A few other jerseys we've seen:
(That photo stinks. Sorry.)
-Mario Lemieux Wales Conference All-Star:
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Carey Price are your starting goaltenders.
-The Penguins' scratches are the great Mike Zigomanis, Eric Godard and Kris Letang. Godard is hobbled after blocking a shot last night.
-Montreal will scratch Max Pacioretty, Ryan O'Byrne and Kyle Chipcura.
-The blue on-ice video projection is played with "Baba O'Riley" from The Who:
-Jeff Jimerson with a surprising Saturday night appearance:
-Something tells us the Penguins don't ask Jimerson when he can show up. He tells them when he will show up.
-You can hear some Montreal fans singing their national anthem and no booing. Way to be Pittsburgh.
-Perhaps the Habs fans patriotism wore off on the Penguins fans too as they sing the Star Spangled Banner louder than usual.
-This is a pretty active crowd tonight. We don't know if its because of all the Habs fans in the building, but this place is awfully loud early on.
18:45: Josh Gorges name tosses a puck behind the net from the right point. Tomas Plekanec collects it, skates behind the cage and dishes it into the slot. Andrei Kostitsyn is there to punch it by Fleury. Nifty goal with a little bit of luck. Canadiens 1-0.
18:15: Malkin is called for holding the stick. Jordan Staal, Rayan Whitney, Pascal Dupuis and Mark Eaton are on for the penalty kill.
18:04: Dupuis works the puck down the left wing fighting off a check from Gorges the whole way. He winds up and blasts a rsiing slapper which Price knocks down and covers.
17:25: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
17:03: Gorges blasts a one-timer from the right point. Fleury kicks it out despite traffic in front
16:42: A puck slides across the crease to Kovalev in the left faceoff circle. He blasts a slapper. Fleury is able to slide over and knock it out.
16:15: Malkin's penalty expires.
15:50: Malkin and Sidney Crosby try some tic-tac-toe passing. Crosby's pass to Ruslan Fedotenko in the slot is broken up by Mike Komisarek.
14:52: Paul Bissonnette bangs Roman Hamrlik into the boards with a nice check.
14:40: Gorges is called for pinning a player to the boards. That two minutes for holding. Crosby, Malkin, Fedotenko, Peter Sykora and Whitney are on for the power play.
13:06: Boucher lobs a wrister on net from the right point. Price kicks it out with his left foot with ease. By our count, that was the Penguins' first official shot on net during the power play.
12:40: Gorges' penalty expires. Another weak effort by the Penguins.
12:19: During a commercial stoppage, the Penguins acknowledge the eight anniversary of Mario Lemieux's comeback on the video board. Fans for both teams applaud the tribute.
12:03: Dupuis dishes a pass to Alex Goligoski at the left point. Goligoski snaps a wrister which Price kicks out.
11:47: Dupuis leaves a drop pass for Crosby on the right wing. Crosby picks it up and snaps a wrister high that Price fights off with his shoulder.
10:55: Guillaume Latendresse blasts a slapper from the left wing. Fleury eats it up.
10:02: Fedotenko hits Gorges behind the Montreal net with a solid check.
9:41: Play is stopped after the Penguins' net is dislodged.
9:20: A shot by Whitney is deflected up over the goal.
8:50: Malkin punches a shot from the side. No dice.
8:43: Dupuis is getting quite a few chances here tonight. He rips a wrister from the slot which Price makes a dazzling save on.
8:12: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
5:25: Dupuis tosses a shot on net that appears to hit the side of the net.
5:16: Dupuis finally gets his goal albeit in a lucky fashion. He collects a pass on the right wing, winds up and blasts a shot which hits a the back boards. It hits back into the crease and off the backside of Price and into the net. Crosby was there to make sure it goes in but it's Dupuis' goal. Whitney and Crosby get assists. Dupuis was going to get one sooner or later. he's had quite a few chances. The "Hey Song" is played. Canadiens 1, Penguins 1.
4:44: Matt Cooke runs over a Montreal player along the boards.
4:09: Fedotenko works the puck up ice and gets tripped up. That's two minutes for former Penguins forward Tom Kostopoulos. A pretty large scrum develops at the Montreal blue line. Amazingly no one gets a penalty out of it. Whitney, Malkin, Crosby, Fedotenoko and Sykora are on for the power play.
2:56: Malkin rips a wrister while approaching the net. The shot appears to get deflected out of play. Cooke, Staal, Boucher, Miroslav Satan and Alex Goligoski are on for the power play.
2:09: Kostopoulos' penalty expires. The Penguins looked no better on that power play.
1:34: Dustin Jeffrey whips a wrister from the left side. Price knocks it away.
1:09: Maxime Talbot tosses a shot on net from the left wing. Price snags it.
0:09: Kovalev gets a feed in the slot and pushes his shot just wide. So close.
0:01: Andre Kostitsyn is even closer. Plekanec controls the puck behind the net draws about 23 Penguins towards him and snaps a puck to Kostitsyn in the slot all alone. He punches the shot right by a helpless Fleury. The Penguins' defense was a joke on that play. Plekanec and Kovalev get assists. Canadiens 2-1.
0:00: End of period. Canadiens 2, Penguins 1.
-The Penguins were pretty aggressive that period. They attacked the net a lot more than they have the past few games. Some defensive breakdowns really hurt them though.
-Dupuis' is playing out of his mind so far tonight. He looks like Alex Ovechkin or Ilya Kovalchuk with how many shots he's taken so far. Officially, he only has three, but he's shot the puck in the general direction of the net more than that.
-The Penguins have a 10-8 edge in shots.
-Dupuis and Andre Kostitsyn each lead the game with three.
-Montreal has an 8-7 edge in faceoffs.
-Plekanec is 3-for-4 (75 percent).
-Malkin is 2-for-3 (67 percent).
-Andrei Markov leads the game with 9:02 of ice time.
-Malkin leads the Penguins with 8:28.
-Komisarek and Markov lead the game with two blocked shots each.
-Montreal general manager and legendary player Bob Gainey is standing right behind us munching on popcorn and watching the piece on Alex Kovalev flying a plane FSN Pittsburgh is airing during the intermission. We don't know why but it feels awesome letting you know Bob Gainey is eating popcorn and watching television within breathing distance of us.
19:42: Talbot tries to dump the puck inot the corner and chase it. Francis Bouillon has other plans and slam Talbot against the boards. What a hit.
18:53: Dupuis tries to shoot from the slot again. His shot is deflected.
18:45: Satan whips a shot on net from the slot as he loses his footing. Price kicks it out.
18:01: Dupuis throws a wrister on net from the left wing. Price fights it off. Dupuis played a heck of a game so far offensively.
16:44: Malkin picks up a loose puck in the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass for Fedotenko. Fedotenko blasts a slapper that hits the side of the cage.
15:13: The not so dangerous Rob Scuderi fires a slapper from the right point that's off the mark.
14:58: Whitney hammers a slapper from the right point. Latendresse is there to block it. The shot drops him and he struggles to get to his team's bench in pain.
14:13: A wrister by Oprik from the left point goes wide of the net.
14:09: Dupuis collects the rebound off Orpik's missed shot and works it around the boards. Satan is there but allows it to go to Crosby who picks it up behind the net and jams it in by Price on the glove side. Sloppy goal by Price to give up there. Dupuis and Orpik get assists. "Hey Song." Canadiens 2, Penguins 2.
11:53: During a commercial stoppage, a "spin-the-wheel" type of game is held. The person who spun the wheel put a little too much muscle into his effort. Fans actually start to boo as the wheel just keeps spinning and spinning.
11:08: Bouillon gets a pass at the point and has a chance at a shot. Cooke is Johnny-on-the-spot and deflects the puck away at the right moment.
10:33: Latendresse cross checks Crosby in the back of the neck. No call.
9:21: Going to commecial, Crosby is seen on the bench in pain and being attended to by trainer Chris Stewart.
8:34: Markov tosses a wrister on net from the slot. Fleury saves it but has trouble with the rebound. Fortunately for him, no Montreal player can jump on it.
7:59: Robert Lang fires a wrister that appears to get deflected wide.
7:38: Bouillon tosses a wrister towards the net. It hits a body in front and bounces away.
7:07: Sergei Kostitsyn comes up the right wing, uses Whitney and a few other players as a screen and rips a wrister on net. Fleury is able to snare with a beauty of a glove save. Play is delayed for an official with a hand injury. Stewart is putting a bandage on his hand.
6:39: Whitney blocks a wrist shot by Steve Begin from the left wing.
5:18: The ever dangerous Rob Scuderi fires a one-timer from the right point which Price fights off.
4:22: Cooke gets thumped to the ice behind the Montreal net by Patrice Brisebois.
3:49: By our count, Crosby just returned to the ice for the first time since getting hit in the neck.
3:28: Another shot attempt by Dupuis is blocked away.
1:49: Something doesn't seem right here. Jordan Staal is taking a shift with Tim Wallace and Dustin Jeffrey.
1:03: Crosby knocks over Komisarek behind the net, takes the puk off him and dishes a pass into the slot which is deflected away. What neck injury?
0:32: Andrei Kostitsyn almost gets his his third goal sort of. He kicks a puck towards the net which Fleury covers.
0:02: The Canadiens dump the puck into the Penguins zone. Eaton collects it with Whitney yelling at him, "Hold it! Hold it!"
0:00: End of period. Canadiens 2, Penguins 2.
-The Penguins played pretty well. They maintained their offensive attack and shored things up on defense and really didn't give Montreal much to work with that period.
-Dupuis is still pretty much the Penguins' most active player on offense. He officially has four shots on net, but he's attempted ate least eight.
-The Penguins have a 17-14 edge in shots.
-Andre Kostitsyn leads the game with five.
-Dupuis and Crosby each have four.
-The Penguins have a 15-13 edge in faceoffs.
-Plekanec is 6-for-8 (75 percent).
-Crosby is 6-for-10 (60 percent).
-Markov leads the game with 16:26 of ice time.
-Whitney leads the Penguins with 15:00.
-We neglected to mention this earlier, but Whitney recorded his first point of the season.
-Komisarek leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Brooks Orpik pulls back the crazy eyes a bit tonight:
-Pretty much any brushes with greatness we've experienced tonight involve popcorn. We went over to get some for ourself and overheard former Penguins general manager and coach Eddie Johnston and CBC announcer Bob Cole complaining about the second period being boring.
-FSN Pittsburgh is up on its geography:
19:27: Bouillon chops a loose puck along the left wing on net. Fleury kicks it out despite some traffic.
18:50: Whitney tosses a wrister on net from the right point. Price or even a Penguins' forward appear to deflect it away.
17:39: Ugh. Andrei Kostitsyn picks up a loose puck at the center line and moves into the offensive zone. He winds up and blasts a weak slapshot through Fleury's equipment. What a terrible goal for Fleury to give up. It's unassisted. It's a hat trick for Kostitsyn. A single hat is tossed to the ice. Canadiens 3-2.
17:06: Plekanec is called for hooking. Crosby, Sykora, Malkin, Whitney and Fedotenko are on for the power play.
16:57: After a scramble. Sykora jabs a loose puck near the slot. Price holds it out.
16:44: Malkin tosses a wrister on net. Fedotenko actually blocks it by accident.
16:13: Maxim Lapierre steals a puck and is off to the races on a breakaway. He motors in on net and is challenged by Fleury on a poke check. Lapierre tries to roof his shot on the prone Fleury but totally misses the net. Fans cheer then chant "Flerrr-EEEE!!! Flerrr-EEEEE!!!"
15:06: Plekanec's penalty is killed. The only positive thing we can say about that power play is that Lapierre failed to score.
14:27: Talbot smakes a puck in the slot on net. Price kicks it out.
14:00: Dupuis grabs a puck on right wing and snaps a wrister on net. Price easily gloves it.
13:01: Apparently there's a "Only Dupuis shoots" rule in play here. He takes a pass down the left wing and rockets a slapper on net. Price deflects it away with his glove hand.
12:20: Jeffrey takes a pass from Sykora on the left wing and pushes a wrister on net. Price eats it up.
11:41: Boucher blocks a shot by Andrei Kostitsyn at the left wing.
11:23: "GO HABS GO!" is quickly drowned out by "LET'S GO PENS!"
10:45: Crosby moves the puck up ice and gets tripped up by Gorges. That's two minutes. Malkin is joined on the ice with Satan, Whitney, Staal and Jeffrey. Interesting combination to say the least.
10:26: After a puck is deflected out of play, Malkin, Staal and Whitney are joined by Crosby and Sykora.
9:41: Sykora gets a feed into the slot but can't get a clean shot off.
9:21: Whitney takes a pass in the slot and fires a wrister which Price fights off.
8:45: Just as Gorges' penalty expires, Crosby feeds a pass to Fedotenko who juuuust misses getting a blade on the puck and poking it behind Price.
7:51: During a stoppage, Talbot and Kostopoulos have a conversation at the Montreal blue line about the Thriller Look. We think.
7:32: A shot by Satan on the right wing is deflected out of play.
7:17: Satan punches a loose puck on net. Price deflects it away.
6:59: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
5:23: Malkin feeds Dupuis in the slot. Dupuis snaps a quick shot off which Price makes a huge save again. That's like Dupuis' 2,932nd shot tonight.
4:53: Cotton Eyed Joe is busted out.
4:45: Whitney whips a wrister from the right point which gets deflected juuusst wide.
3:57: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
3:47: Boucher blocks a wrist shot from Lang.
3:10: On a delayed penalty, Sykora winds up and blasts a slapper from the left wing. Price eats it up. Alex Tanguay is nabbed for high sticking. We forgot we was on Montreal's roster tonight. The J.V. power play of Satan, Fedotenko, Goligoski, Staal and Sykora.
2:35: Whitney punches a slapper from the left wing. Price kicks it out.
2:09: Price just made a sick save. He might've won the game there. Crosby slides a pass to Malkin on the other side of the crease. Malkin re-directs the puck on net. Price is able to slide over and keep it out. What a save.
1:25: Malkin blasts a one-timer from the right point. Price mades a nice save despite a screen from Cooke. Cooke can't quite get the rebound.
1:13: Off a tic-tac-toe play Cooke punches a shot over the net.
0:58: Fleury is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:54: Price covers a loose puck in the crease. He's not losing this game. Michel Therrien calls a time out to organize a night everyone can come over to watch the fourth season of "Rosanne" DVD set he got for Christmas. We think.
0:49: Steve Begin blogs a shot by Malkin from the right point. That took some guts.
0:19: The Habs clear the puck down ice. Whitney races down to touch up for icing.
0:17: Sykora snaps a shot off the faceoff which Price kicks out.
0:01: Malkin drives a one timer which is deflected into the netting he slams his stick on the ice in frustration.
0:00: Crosby wings the faceoff and lunges to the ice in a last ditch effort to throw it on net. No dice. End of game. Canadiens 3, Penguins 2.
-As the Canadiens leave the ice, a crowd of Montreal fans sitting in B-31 chant "Carrrre-EEEE!! Carrrrre-EEEE!!!"
-You might not have like the outcome, but that was a pretty good game by all around. It got physical in spots but there was a ton of up and down skating and the goaltending was solid for the most part.
-The Penguins really couldn't have done much more tonight in order to win this game on offense. the outshot an opponent by a large margin for the first time in a while. Carey Price was just playing out of his mind tonight. Sometimes, you're just not going to beat a hot goaltender.
-We never put much into the three stars. There really is not set way of ever coming up a logical trio for it. But former Penguins Jack Riley, the man who essentially founded this franchise just came up to us and asked our opinion of tonight's three stars, which were 3.) Crosby 2.) Plekanec and 1.) Kostitsyn. He thought Price deserved the first star for obvious reasons. We don't know what we said. We just kind of blurted out something have coherent because we were stunned by the fact Riley was asking our opinion on something hockey related.
-Generally, you're not going to win too many games when Pascal Dupuis is your most noticable offensive force. He played well, but the likes of Miroslav Satan, Petr Sykora and Jordan Staal were awfully quiet tonight.
-Crosby and Malkin were solid, but they probably had room to improve their games tonight as well.
-We thought Whitney easily had his most solid game since coming back to the lineup. He just looked really good skating with the puck and getting into position on offense.
-Other than the bad game-winning goal, Fleury was OK. His defense left him out to dry on the first two goals.
-No need to blame the Penguins' willingness to shoot tonight. They ended ended up with a 34-19 lead in shots.
-Dupuis led the game with seven shots on goal. He easily attempted at least 10.
-Crosby was right behind him with six.
-Andrei Kostitsyn led Montreal with six.
-Who needs The great Mike Zigomanis? The Penguins had a 27-23 advantage in faceoffs.
-Crosby was 15-for-23 (65 percent).
-Plekanec was 13-for-23 (57 percent).
-Whitney led the game with 26:34 of ice time. Malkin was right behind him with 26:34.
-Markov led Montreal with 26:31.
-Komisarek led the game with five blocked shots.
-Boucher led the Penguins with four.
-The Penguins are now 1-2-1 and have been outscored 14-11 in their blue jerseys this season. Fire Dana Heinze.
-Crosby passed up Rob Brown and Ron Stackhouse for 15th place on the club's all-time scoring list. Crosby now has 344 career points to Stackhouse's 344 and Brown's 343. Crosby has the edge over Stackhouse because he has 114 goals to Stackhouse's 66.
-Whitney's last point was a goal in a 4-1 win at Philadelphia in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, May 13.
-His last regular season point was an assist also against the Flyers. He recorded it in a 4-2 home win April 2.
-Andrei Kostitsyn's hat trick was the second against the Penguins this month. Ottawa's Jason Spezza did in a 3-2 home win Dec. 6.
-The last Montreal player to get a hat trick against the Penguins was Saku Koivu who also had an assist for Montreal in a 5-4 home overtime win Nov. 18, 2002. Dick Tarnstrom led the Penguins with a goal and three assists while Mario Lemieux added a goal and two assists.