Greetings from cloudy but really warm Pittsburgh. It's in the high 50s here today. This is not the night before Thanksgiving. It's more like mid-spring.
A few blurry, fuzzy sights. Consol Energy Center:
-Montreal's Carey Price has at least one fan here:
-Pascal Dupuis graces the cover of tonight's "Ice TIme:"
-Given the supposed "Ice TIme Curse" that has sprung up this season, we imagine Dupuis will come down a terrible case of athlete's foot and will be sidelined two-to-three weeks with a "lower-body" injury.
-Some sights around the arena. An Ulf Samuelsson jersey:
-We so wanted to fight these two idiots:
-Why would you ruin two perfectly good Patrick Roy Canadiens and Avalanche jerseys?
-A Toronto St. Pats jersey:
-The Maple Leafs were briefly known as the St. Pats early in their history. And given the Habs-Leafs rivalry, this is not a jersey foul.
-The Canadiens always travel well. A Saku Koivu fan:
-Anything that combines the Smurfs and the Habs' injury woes, we're all for:
-This Zdeno Chara fans proudly proclaimed himself to be a "Canadien-Hater:"
-The Bruins-Habs rivalry comes into play here as well with jersey fouls.
-A t-shirt jersey of the formerly great Mike Zigomanis:
-Who else but Jeff Jimerson would handle the national anthems:
-The Penguins' scratches are Alex Goligoski and Tyler Kennedy who is apparently no longer on injured reserve.
-The Canadiens' scratches are Jaroslav Spacek, Georges Laraque and Andrei Kostitsyn.
18:56: Ryan O'Byrne gives Maxime Talbot a bit hit in front of the Penguins' bench. It's not a dirty hit but Talbot lands awkwardly facefirst into the boards. Sidney Crosby comes flying in and hits O'Byrne with a body check and sticks him on his wallet. That's why Crosby has a "C" on his chest. That's a pretty impressive feat for Crosby (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) given the size of O'Byrne (6-foot-5, 234 pounds).
18:31: Mike Cammalleri snaps off a wrister from the left point. Fleury makes the save. Tomas Plekanec fights off a defender and punches the rebound on net. FLeury is able to kick it out with his left leg. Tough save for Fleury.
17:51: Dupuis colects a puck int ehslot. turns and leaves a drop pass for Evgeni Malkin streaking into the slot. Malkin rips a wrister on net which Price eats up.
16:13: Eric Godard chips a puck on net from the left wing. Carey Price makes the easy save.
15:08: Matt Cooke mashes Josh Gorges with a shoulder check in the corner.
14:31: The great Martin Skoula smacks a slapper on net from the left point. Price makes the save despite a screen from Bill Guerin. A small scrum ensues. Nothing comes of it.
13:23: Guerin zips a nice pass from the left wing across the slot to Crosby on the right wing. Crosby takes the puck, moves in on net and tries to jam it low by Price. Prices holds his ground and prevents the goal. What a great pass by Guerin to set up that chance. Two Habs could've broken that up.
12:40: Deryk Engelland tosses a wrister on net from the right point. Cooke is in front and re-directs it wide.
12:31: During the first television stoppage, a video welcoming Talbot "back" to Mellon Arena is played. It is his first game this season on home ice.
11:51: Sergei Gonchar takes a pass at the left point and snaps off a wrister. Ruslan Fedotenko is in front and appears to deflects it into the corner.
10:39: Times like this make us wonder why Crfosby isn't considered a "goal-scorer." He picks up the puck in the netural zone, cross the Canadiens' blue line and rips an absolute laser between the legs of Paul Mara and over the glove-side shoulder of Price on the far side. That was an insane shot. And there are maybe three people in the building right now who could've pulled that off. And one of them is sitting below us in the press box drinking chardonnay. Talbot gets the only assist. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.
9:50: Maybe that's why Crosby isn't a "goal-scorer." Talbot forces a turnover in the neutral zone and coasts up the left wing drawing a defender towards himself. That frees up Crosby in the slot and Talbot chps a pass to him. Crosby moves in on Price on a breakaway. He shoots high and totally misses the net. Ugh.
8:19: Jay Leach tosses a wrister on net from the left point. Fleury makes the save. Glen Metropolit is in front and gets the rebound but he doesn't exactly get off a quality shot. Fleury makes that save as well.
4:57: After about three minutes of nothing, Mark Eaton ices the puck.
4:21: From the left point,Roman Hamrlik slides a pass to Mara at the right point. Mara hammers a slapper that's off the mark and misses the net.
4:16: Guerin coasts up the right wing and snaps off a wrister. It hits off Hamrlik's stick and deflects of play. A scrum develops in the corner with Crosby and Mara at the center of it. Nothing really comes ofit.
3:51: Travis Moen and Max Pacioretty each get a few chances in tight but can't beat a sprawled out Fleury.
3:10: Jordan Staal takes a pass in the slot and chops a slapper on net. It misses the mark. That might've been deflected.
2:54: Staal gets another chances in the slot. He hacks at a shot that gets deflected by Mara's stick then his head and out of danger.
2:45: Another chance down low as Cooke chops a shot that flutters over the net.
1:15: Malkin digs out a pucks from behind the cage and dishes it to Godard in tight. Godard immediately puts it on net and is denied by Price.
1:04: A shot by Talbot on the left wing is deflected out of play.
0:25: Guerin just tosse a wrister on net from the corner. Price makes the east save.
0:10: A slappery by Pascal Dupuis on the left wing is deflected out of play. We get far too much enjoyment from seeing Dupuis' confidence in his shot.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Canadiens 0.
-Solid period for the Penguins. They didn't do anythign outstanding, but they played their game, attacked the offensive zone and maintained pressure on Carey Price. Montreal had a few decent opportunities, but the Penguins had the higher quanity of chances.
-The Talbot-Guerin-Crosby line has something going on tonight. They're hitting each other with a lot of clean passes and getting pucks on or around the net. Chris Kunitz better hurry back if he wants his "job" back on Crosby's wing.
-That said, seeing Kunitz on the scond line with Malkin and Fedotenko isn't a bad idea.
-Deryk Engelland's play stood out a bit that first period. He just knew "what to do" with the puck in a variety of situations.
-The Canadiens looked pretty good considering they played last night against the Blue Jackets and that they're without a lot of their big guns like Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.
-Shots are tied, 8-8.
-Metropolit, Moen, Craig Adams, Godard and Crosby each lead the game in shots with two.
-How in the world does Godard have more shots on net than Malkin (one)?
-Gonchar leads the game with 7:57 of ice time.
-Mara lead the Candiens with 7:03.
-The Penguins have a 9-5 lead in faceoffs (64 percent).
-Staal is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Metropolit is 2 for 4 (50 percent).
-O'Byrne and Mara each lead the game with two blocked shots.
-These two jokers in these Patrick Roy jerseys are getting around. These jersey fouls are so bad we have to run them again.
-And it the Canadiens portion of the jersy has a 1993 Stanley Cup Final patch on it also!?!?! This is even more tragic.
-We can't even describe how heartbreaking that is to us without using vulgarity.
-And this one is just plain inexcusable on so many fronts:
(Kudos to EN readers Joshua McElhattan and Kelli Zappas for the photos.)
19:37: Marc-Andre Bergeron tees ups a slapper from the left point that hits a body in front.
19:06: Gonchar cracks a slapper from the right point. Price makes the save. Crosby is there for the rebound and pushes it right into Price's gear.
17:39: Pascal Dupuis cranks a slap shot from the West Igloo Club. Price makes the save.
17:05: Off a two-on-one against Gonchar, Plekanec snaps off a wrister from the right wing. Fleury makes the save but give up a bad rebound. Mike Cammalleri moves in from the left wing and has a clean shot at an open net but whiffs on his shot. Fleury got lucky there. He can't give up that rebound and Cammalleri can't miss that shot.
16:53: Dupuis a gets the puck deep on the left wing and puts a deflected wrister on net. Price gloves it.
15:42: During delayed penalty Guerin takes a pass on the left wing and cranks a slapper. It hits off the side of the cage. A Canadien touches the puck to kill. play. Tom Pyatt is sent off for tripping Talbot. Malkin, Crosby, Guerin, Mark Eaton and Gonchar take the ice.
15:26: Mark Eaton sneaks a shot through traffic down low from the left wing. Price makes the save. Crosby gloves the rebound, drops it and punches it on net. Price makes the "save." Officials actually blew play dead as Crosby gloved the puck so the shot wasn't official. The faceoff is in the neutral zone.
14:15: From the left point, Gonchar zips a pass to Malkin down low on the right wing. Malkin hammers a one-timer that Price is able to slide over and make the save.
13:40: Malkin hammers a slapper from the left point that's no where near the cage.
15:12: Gonchar swats a shot on net from the top of othe slot. Price is able to glove it despite a cluster of bodies in front.
13:15: The Penguins maintain control the offensive zone and it pays off with a little bit of luck. Malkin handles the puck down low behind the net. He dips down and avoids a hip check by O'Byrne then dishes a nifty backhander to Guerin along the goal line. Guerin tries to go from his forehand to his backhand but looses control of hte puck It slides into Price's gear. He appears to have frozen it but Guerin kind of "bumps" him and the puck goes into the cage. Price has a brief discussion with the officials presumably to disagree with the goal. It counts. Malkin and the great Martin Skoula get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 2-0
11:45: Maxim Lapierre hammers a slapper from the left point. Fleury makes the save but gives up a big rebound. David Desharnais swats at the puck but fans on it abit. It slides in and Fleury eats it up.
10:00ish: Quality sign hanging from the north F balcony: "Pens New Motto: 'Defy Injury'"
9:37: Malkin sats a wrister from the left faceoff circle that gets deflected out of play.
7:43: Talbot forces O'Byrne into a turnover down low with a nice forecheck. Talbot can't really get control of the puck and it slides up against the cage. It kind of just sits there before officials blow play dead. O'Byrne's had a rough night.
7:04: Malkin turns and smacks a bouncing puck in the slot. It gets deflected out of play. During the stoppage, attendance is annoucned as 17,094. It is the team's 130th consecutive sellout.
5:49: The Penguins get a little ragged in their own end. Glen Metropolit swats a loose puck form the left faceoff circle on net. FLeury makes the glove save and freezes play allowing his team a much-needed change.
5:13: Pacioretty works his way up the left wing against Ben Lovejoy and rockets a wrister high that gets by Fleury on the blocker side and clanks off the cross bar.
4:22: Brooks Orpik rattles Maxim Lapierre behind the Penguins net.
3:04: Crosby coasts up the left wing against Marc-Andre Bergeron. Just outside the faceoff circle, he spins and whips a backhanded pass to Gonchar streaking down the slot. Gonchar knocks down the puck with his left foot, takes the puck on his backhand, does a nifty little shoulder juke and punches a backhandes shot on Price's five hole. It clunks off Price's legs and squirts into the net. What a nifty little goal. Gonchar could use that shoulder juke and pick up women in a dance club if he wanted too. Crosby and Staal get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 3-0.
2:58: A few sing-song "Careeerrrrrrr--EEEEEEEE...... Carrrrreeeeee-EEEEEEEE....." chants can be heard.
1:12: Tough time to take a penalty here. Adams is nabbed for high sticking Pacioretty. Staal, Cooke, Orpik and Gonchar take the ice.
0:36: Cooke works his way up the left wing. From the faceoff circle, He uncorks a big slapper which Price kicks out.
0:00: As the period runs out, Metropolit gets the puck down low, turns and tries to jam it under Fleury a few times. Fleury holds his ground and keeps it out. End of period. Penguins 3, Canadiens 0.
-Another solid period for the Penguins. They're playing their game and doing exactly what they need to do. Gaining the offensive zone and getting the puck on net.
-The Canadiens are still in this thing. Despite the score, they've played pretty well considering again, they played last night and they don't have a healthy roster.
-Price needed to prevent the two goals he gave up that period. THey were preventable goals and he can't let those go in. Especially considering his team is short on healthy bodies tonight.
-The Crosby-Guerin-Talbot line continued to thrive.
-The penguins have a 24-15 lead in shots.
-Bill Guerin leads the game with six shots.
-Metropolit leads the Habs with four.
-Gonchar leads the game with 15:51 of ice time.
-Cammalleri leads the Canadiens with 14:59.
-The Penguins have an 18-15 edge in faceoffs (55 percent).
-Staal is 7 for 10 (70 percent).
-Metropolit is 7 for 9 (78 percent).
-Mara leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Lovejoy, Staal, Fedotenko and the great Martin Skoula each have one.
20:00: The Canadiens will have 0:47 of ice time on fresh ice. Staal, Cooke, Orpik and Gonchar take the ice.
19:12: The Penguins kill off the Adams' penalty. That was big. A goal there would've given the Canadiens some life.
17:12: Lovejoy gains the offensive zone and rips a wrister that off the mark.
15:10: Mike Rupp rams Marc-Andre Bergeron into the boards in front of the ramp to the Penguins' locker room.
14:37: Godard picks up a puck just inside the blue line and puts another shot on net. That's his fourth shot on net. Geez. Who's been giving his shooting lessons? Dupuis?
13:15: Staal slides a cross ice pass to Gonchar on the right wing. Gonchar steps up and hammers a one-timer that hits off the side of the net.
12:43: And the Canadiens get back into this game. Metropolit distributes the puck to Sergei Kostitsyn on the right wing. Kostitsyn dishes the puck to Pacioretty who is trailing. A shooting lane opens up and Pacioretty rips a rather ordinary wrist shot what beats Fleury on the glove side. That's a bad goal for Fleury to give up. He wasn't even screeened. A few fans even boo. We can't blame them. That makes things a bit more interesting. Kostitsyn and Metropolit get assists. Penguins 3-1.
12:11: Rupp mashes Kostitsyn into the boards in front of the Canadiens' bench..
11:36: Cooke steals a puck off Hamrlik just indside the Candiens' blue line. He has a chane at a bit of breakaway but Hamrlik trips him up. That's two minutes. Wonderful effort by Cooke to create that chance. Crosby, Malkin, Guerin, Gonchar and Eaton take the ice.
10:31: Gonchar gets the puck at the top of the slot and tees up a slapper. It gets blocked in the slot. Gonchar gets his rebound back and sneaks another shot through traffic. Price fights it off.
10:08: Crosby and Malkin each have a chance down low off a rebound but can't get it by Price.
9:55: Plekanec pushes the puck up the left wing, goes behind the net, comes around the other side and dishes a feed to O'Byrne in the slot. O'Byrne takes the puck chooses his shot and rips a wrister to the far side. Fleury is able to stretch oout and make a marvelous glove save. Fans offer "FLERRRR-EEEE! FLERRR-EEEE!" chants. That was pretty big. A shorthanded goal there give the Habs all the momentum.
9:36: Hamrlik's penalty is killed. The Penguins had a few decent chances there. The Canadiens really needed that kill.
8:48: Cooke gets a chance down low and stabs at a feed in the slot. Price is in perfect positiion and fights it off with his chest.
8:04: Malkin tosses a wrister at the cage from the left wing. Price kicks it out. THat was the Penguins' 30th shot on net.
7:28: Rupp takes a pass on the right wing and tosses a shot on net which is off the mark.
7:14: Pacioretty takes a tumble in front of the Penguins' bench and looses his stick. Rupp absolutely ran him over after he dumped the puck down into the Pengins' zone. He goes to the bench in some discomfort.
6:38: "Gunner" Eric Godard takes a feed in the slot and rips a wrister which gets deflected wide.
6:30: Crosby sets up Godard down low again but his shot is deflected and misses the mark. His teammates are trying to get him a goal badly.
3:54: Crosby makes a marvelous move on Bergeron to gain the offensive zone and has a fairly clean shot. He instead opts to dish a pass to Guerion on the left wing. Guerin's not ready for the pass and they loose possession. Argh. SHOOOOOT!
3:44: "Cotton-Eyed Joe" is busted out:
2:22: Desharnais gets a chance down low but can't direct the puck by Fleury.
0:30: After some issues getting the puck out of thier zone, the Canadiens finally get the puck deep but don't pull Price.
0:00: End of game. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Mike Lange's "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis... Has just left... the building..." is played. Penguins 3, Canadiens 1.
-NIce solid, workmanlike win for the Penguins. They played their type of game, kept the pressure on a tired, wounded Candiens team and earned a win tonight.
-Granted this was the first game we saw in person with Maxime Talbot, but it looked like his strongest effort since he came back from his injury.
-Again, the Crosby-Guerin-Talbot line really clicked tonight. We wouldn't be too upset if Dan Bylsma kept that trio intact when Tyler Kennedy and Chris Kunitz return to the lineup.
-Fleury's game wasn't perfect, but he once again did what he had to in order to win this game. And that's all you can ever ask from your goaltender. His save on O'Byrne's shorthanded chance late really killed any hopes the Canadiens had at coming back.
-Despite having more than a few things working against them, we really though the Canadiens played well. They just didn't have the horses to run with the Penguins. There was a lot of AHL-caliber talent in their lineup tonight.
-Price was solid but the goals in the second period were inexcusable. And they turned out to be the difference.
-The Penguins ended up with a 30-19 lead in shots.
-Bill Guerin led the game with 6.
-Metropoli led the Habs with five.
-That's what kind of night it was for Montreal. A third-line checker led them in shots.
-Gonchar led the game with 24:56.
-Cammalleri led the Habs with 22:51.
-The Penguins had a 27-21 lead in faceoffs (56 percent).
-Staal was 10 for 15 (67 percent).
-Metropolit was 11 for 15 (73 percent).
-Mara led the game with four blocked shots.
-The great Martin Skoula led the Penguins with three.
-Who needs Jay McKee?
-Assuming they don't meet the Penguins in the playoffs, the Candiens will finish with a 42-32-15 record all-time at Civic/Mellon Arena including postseason games.
-Talbot moved past Michel "Miss the Net" Ouellet for 92nd place on the team's all-time scoring list. Talbot now has 81 points to Ouellet's 80.
-Talbot's assist was his first point since:
-Here's some names. Guerin's goal moved him into 215th place on the team's all-time scoring list past Kris Beech, Steve Durbano and Scott Young. All four players have 27 points, but Guerin (11) has more goals than each of them.
-Dan Byslma speaks. On Fleury's save against O'Byrne:
"Marc said he likes those ones. I like it when he saves those opportunities as well. We were towards the end of a power play. They got that opportunity and that would've made it 3-2. A completely different game. Would've given them a lot of life. That's the kind of goaltender we got that makes the big save at the right time."
"He had a great first period. He battled hard on the wall, not only making the offensive plays, but moving his feet, being a physical factor as well. I liked the way he forechecked. Numerous times he several big hits. Getting back more to the game we expect from Max. Playing an energy game, a physical game but also (chipping) in and make plays as well."
-On the fourth line of Adams, Rupp and Godard:
"From our fourth line collectively it was probably their best game of the year. Particularly in the first period we had not really established our game yet and their line was the line that had the first great shift and got the crowd going and our bench going. They had two or three (shifts) in the first exactly that way in the offensive zone, being physical with big bodies. Mike Rupp, Craig Adams and Eric Godard had really strong games tonight."
-On the Canadiens playing two game in as many nights:
"They played last night and traveled and came in here and we wanted to play a game that forced them to play at our tempo. If you can play in the offensive zone and make them work to get to the red line and dump it in then you start to try and wear down a team, we had that at numerous times and were able to do that. You have to keep playing that way no matter if they have a full lineup or not. They had some injuries, we all go through that, and we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity that forces a team to deal with your skill and speed. You try and tire them out and at times we did that very well. "