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Penguins at Canadiens - 01-12-11

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

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-Hey, guess where we are:

-No, not quite:

-The Penguins' starters are Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy, Jordan Staal, Alex Goligoski, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Sidney Crosby and Ben Lovejoy.

-The Canadiens starters are Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Max Pacioretty, Roman Hamrlik, James Wisniewski and Carey Price.

-Their scratches are Mike Cammalleri and Alexandre Picard.

-We have a theory as to why Jordan Staal has yet to score. His hair:

-Those "wings" on the side of his noggin are creating wind resistance and are slowing down his approach on net.

-FSN Pittsburgh busts out a Monday Night Football-esque starting lineup presentation ("Pascal Dupuis, Laval, Quebec," etc.):

-Metallica's James Hetfield sings the national anthems:

FIRST PERIOD

19:21: It doesn't take long for the Penguins to put themselves into a hole as Goligoski is nabbed for hooking Pacioretty. Pascal Dupuis, Maxime Talbot, Zbynek Michalek and Brooks Orpik take the ice.

17:37: Letang makes a nifty play to take the puck off Benoit Pouliot behidn the Penguins' net and backhands it down ice to kill time.

17:21: The Goligoski minor is killed with absolutely no threat from the Canadiens.

15:55: Lars Eller snaps off a loose puck in the slot. Deryk Engelland is there to block it.

15:06: Kennedy circles around the back of the net and emerges on the left wing. He spins and whips a wrister on net. Price is square to the shot and fights it off.

14:35: After a rush by Evgeni Malkin up the right wing gets the puck in deep, Zbynek Michalek is denied down low by Price.

14:03: Malkin controls the puck down low below the goal line and deals a backhanded pass to the slot. Kunitz is there and whips it on net with a wrister Price comes through with a tough save. Malkin has created two solid scoring chances so far tonight.

12:41: After a poor turnover by Hamrlik in his own zone, Cooke takes the puck and golfs a slapper on net from the slot. Price is in perfect position and kicks it out. Hamrlik owes Price a Molson.

10:34: After a poor offensive turnover by Kunitz in the offensive zone, Tomas Plekanec pushes the puck up ice and creates a give-and-go play with Mathieu Darche. Darche deals it off the right wing to Plekanec in the slot. Plekanec tries to go with a forehand on Fleury but Fleury's right foot denies him. Kunitz owes Fleury an Iron City.

10:18: Letang mixes it up with P.K. Subban. Letang is the one who gets nabbed for slashing. Staal, Craig Adams, Paul Martin and Michalek take the ice.

8:41: Hamrlik drives a slapper from the right half wall. Fleury boots it away.

8:19: Just before the Letang' minor is killed, Cooke rushes up the right wing on a two-on-two with Dupuis. He deal a really nice backhanded pass to Dupuis in the slot. Dupuis attacks the net and goes backhand. Price stick with him and robs Dupuis with a really nice glove save.

7:03: And Goligoski makes amends for his early penalty. In the neutral zone, Letestu deals a pass to Kunitz on the left wing. Kunitz gains the zone and leaves a drop pass for Goligoski. Goligosk steps up a bit from the point and rockets a one-timer to the far side toasting Price's glove. What a shot. Kunitz and Letestu get assists. Penguins 1-0.

6:45: And it takes the Canadiens little time to tie the game. Darche outworks Michalek behind the Penguins net for possession and deals a pass to the slot. Martin is there all alone against Pouliot and Plekanec. Plekanec ends up wit hthe puck and snaps it by the blocker of a sprawling Fleury. Another defensive breakdown. Were any of the forwards backchecking? Darche and Pouliot get assists. Canadiens 1, Penguins 1.

4:31: Price knocks down a shot by Malkin from the right circle and freezes play.

3:34: Talbot hustles after a puck in behind the Canadiens' net and deals a pass to Rupp moving in off the left wing. Rupp jabs a quick shot but is denied by Price. Back up ice, Travis Moen is slow to recover to his feet after biffing badly on a check attempt against Rupp in front of the Canadiens' bench. Rupp dodged the hit and Moen went into the boards face first. Moen is a little shaken up but is able to get to his skates and retreats to the locker room.

3:21: Talbot gets denied in tight by Price.

2:45: Letang tries to spin by James Wisniewski in the slot but gets knocked to hthe ice

2:05: Wisniewski drives a slapper from the right point. Fleury fends it off despite contract from Gionta.

1:02: Subban tackles Adams long the left wing boards in the offensive zone. No call.

0:00: End of period. Canadiens 1, Penguins 1.

FIRST INTERMISSION


-It seemed like both teams were a little hesitant to begin things. Even the Canadiens despite having an early power play. After about five minutes, things loosened up a bit and play opened up.

-Malkin has created a few scoring chances for teammates. Aside from one offensive turnover, his play has been strong.

-Fleury and Price have each been strong.

-The Penguins have a 9-6 lead in shots.

-Plekanec leads the game with two.

-Wisniewski leads the game with 9:19 of ice time

-Martin leads the Penguins with 9:03.

-Canadiens lead in faceoffs, 9-5 (64 percent).

-Plekanec is 4 for 5 (80 percent).

-Talbot is 2 for 5 (40 percent).

-Hal Gill leads the game with three blocked shots.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-No one for the Penguins has more than one.

SECOND PERIOD

18:59: A wrister by Plekanec off the right wing is deflected out of play by Michalek.

18:38: Moen is apparently healthy as he leads a rush up the right wing.

17:45: Subban chips a wrister from the right point. Goligoski and David Desharnais are in the slot battling. Desharnais manages to re-direct the puck with his forehand and the puck sneaks over the glove hand elbow of Fleury. What a re-direct. It's Desharnais's first career goal. Subban and Tom Pyatt get assists. Canadiens 2-1.

16:56: Malkin eaks a puck from behind the net. It gets rattled around and comes to Kunitz in the slot. Kunitz jabs a quick shot on net. Prices makes the save. Pouliot ended up high sticking Kunitz. That's two minutes. Letestu, Kunitz, Malkin, Letang and Martin take the ice.

15:52: Martin takes a one-touch pass from Letang at the left point and cranks a one-timer on net. Price eats it up.

15:48: Tyler Kennedy on the power play? Um... okay. Staal wins a clean faceoff against Jeff  Halpern and gets the puck to Letang at the left point. Letang taps it to Kennedy in the left circle. Kennedy rockets a one-timer which sneaks over the right shoulder of Price on the near side. What a shot! Where did that come from? Letang and Staal get assists. It's Staal's first point of the season. Canadiens 2, Penguins 2.

14:20: Cooke deals a pass from behind the net to Kennedy in the right circle. Kennedy backhands around a sliding defender and lifts a backhander on net. Price sticks with the puck and denies the shot.

13:23: Off a three-on-two, Kennedy deals from the left wing to Staal. Staal has a clean chance in the right circle. He grips and rips a shot wide to the far side. He needs to put that on net.

12:16: Staal slams Subban into the right wing boards in front of the Penguins' penalty box. That forces a turnover. Arron Asham jumps on the puck rushes in on net. He puts a backhander on net which Price eats up.

11:58: Pyatt has a step on Goligoski  and seemingly has a decent scoring chance but puts a wrister off the side of the net.

10:01: Dupuis forces Wisniewski into a turnover in the neutral zone. Wisniewski reacts and slashes Dupuis. That's two minutes. Malkin, Kennedy, Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.

9:37: Price eats up a shot by Malkin from the right circle.

8:15: Giotna leads a shorthanded rush up the left wing. He forces a pass to Halpern in the slot. Goligoski slides down to block it.

8:06: Kennedy sneaks a pass from the right circle to Malkin the left circle. Malkin immediately sweeps a one-timer on net. Price is able to slide to his left and fight off the shot. Huge save.

8:01: The Wisniewski minor is killed.

7:38: Cooke and Letestu have a two-on-one against Subban. Cooke forces a pass to Letestu in the slot. Subban sprawls down and blocks the pass. What a play.

6:27: Scott Gomez makes his first appearance of the game and is denied in tight by Fleury.

5:18: Pyatt jabs a quick shot on net from the right wing. Fleury boots it out.

3:25: After Plekanec beats Staal on a faceoff in the right faceoff circle in the Penguins zone, Gionta snaps off  awrister which deflects off the far post and out of play.

2:43: Staal deals a little pass from behind the net to the slot. Kennedy is there and pushes the puck on net. As he crashes in, Price is able to hold it out.

1:44: Pacioretty grips and rips a wrister from the left circle. Fleury fends it off.

1:40: The Canadiens are nabbed for too many men on the ice. Pacioretty will serve the minor. Malkin, Kunitz, Letang, Martin and Letestu take the ice.

1:36: Off a faceoff win, Martin guns a one-timer from the right point. It gets deflected wide.

0:31: Off a give and go with Malkin, Staal puts a wrister on net from the right circle. Price eats it up.

0:10: Welcome back to the scoresheet Jordan Staal. Letang sneaks up the left wing fending off Spacek. Spacek manages to get a stick on the puck but accidentally backhands it to Staal in the left circle. Staal one-times it between Price's right leg and the near post. It's his first goal of the season. The goal is unassisted. Spacek could make a case for one. Penguins 3-2.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Canadiens 2.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-Where did this power play come from? All of a sudden, special teams are a weapon for the Penguins?

-Staal is clearly having his best game since the start of his comeback. And it's not just the points. He's been a force defensively forcing turnovers in the neutral zone and defensive zone.

-Fleury continues to be a big part of this lead. The Canadiens have had plenty of quality scoring chances but Fleury has stood tall on the majority of them.

-Has anyone seen Scott Gomez?

-The Penguins lead in shots, 23-15.

-Kunitz, Kennedy, Malkin and Plekanec each lead the game with three blocked shots.

-Martin leads the game with 17:54 of ice time.

-Wisniewski leads the Canadiens with 15:35.

-The Canadiens lead in faceoffs, 22-17 (56 percent).

-Plekanec is 10 for 17 (59 percent).

-Letestu is 3 for 6 (50 percent).

-Gill leads the game with four blocked shots.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-Goligoski, Asham and Letang each lead the Penguins with two.

THIRD PERIOD

19:13: Kennedy jabs a quick little wrister on net from the right wing. Price fends it off.

18:50: Pouliot hooks Michalek and sends him crashing into the left wing boards in the Penguins' zone. That's two minutes. Malkin, Letang, Lestestu, Malkin and Kunitz take the ice.

17:33: Letang taps a feed to Malkin at the top of the right circle. Malkin fires a one-timer which is deflected wide on the far side.

17:27: A third power play goal? Without Sidney Crosby? Huh? Letang chops al spaper on net from left point. It appears to hit Staal in the crease. Price scrambles for the rebound but can't track it down. Goliogski jumps on it and punches it into the open net for his second goal of the game. Staal and Letang get assists. Penguins 4-2.

15:33: Plekanec has a wrister from the slot blocked by Letang's stick.

15:20: Uh. Wow. Pouliot slashes Kenenedy into a turnover in the right circle in the Penguins' zone. He takes the puck and rips a wrister over the glove-side shoulder of Fleury on the near side. Officials immediately wave off the goal and send Pouliot off for slashing. Fans boo but it's the right call. Pouliot with his third penalty of the game. Brutal night for him. Malkin, Kunitz, Letang, Staal and Martin take the ice.

14:33: Goligoski guns a shot on net. Letang re-directs it. Price fends it off.

13:27: Kennedy is denied in tight by Price.

13:20: The Pouliot minor is killed.

13:10: After a scrum around Price in the crease, Subban and Letestu drop the gloves. It's not really much of a fight as Subban gets wrestled to the ice by Letestu.

11:14: A slapper by Letang from the right point is blocked in front by Spacek.

10:48: Orpik moves up on a loose puck in the right circle and guns it on net. Price eats it up.

10:07: Plekanec takes a pass in the right circle and jabs a rising wrister. Fleury fights it off.

9:51: More discipline issues for the Canadiens as Wisniewski is sent off for hooking Malkin. Malkin, Staal, Goligoski, Kunitz and Letant take the ice.

9:13: Malkin appears to have a a clean chance on a one-timer form the right circle. Gill and/or Price fight it off.

8:31: Four power play goals. In one game. Without Sidney Crosby. Against the top penalty-killing team in the NHL before tonight? Sure why not. Goligoski slides a pass from teh top of the slot to Letang on the left half wall. Letang drops the hammer and blasts a one-timer by Price's glove on the far side. Kunitz was in front with a screen. Goligoski and Malkin get assists. Penguins 5-2.

7:34: Gomez and Gionta mix it up with Orpik in front of Fleury. A few pot shots are given out by everyone involved. Nothing comes of it.

6:16: Gill swats a backhander on net from the slot. Fleury fights it off.

5:30: Gionta makes a rush in off the left wing but is denied in tight by Fleury.

4:57: Wisniewski whistles a wrister from the left point wide on the far side.

2:22: Letang gains the offensive zone all alone and dumps the puck down ice to get a change. The Penguins are milking this clock the rest of the way.

1:07: Deryk Englleland dumps Moen in the right wing corner in the Penguins' zone.

1:03: Fleury fights off a wrister by Hamrlik from the left point. Off a rebound, Halpern is denied in tight by Fleury. Goligoski is sent off for hooking Halpern. Michalek, Orpik, Talbot and Cooke take the ice.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 5, Canadiens 2.

POSTGAME

-First things first. In reaction to Carey Price "striking a pose" in last week's win against the Penguins, Marc-Andre Fleury offered the same:

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-What an important win. The Penguins were floundering with three consecutive losses. Their offense was struggling. Their defense had trouble keeping leads. They needed this win just to build some confidence.

-The idea of this power play scoring three goals in one game is staggering. The reality of it actually scoring three goals completely defies logic. The Penguins kept things simple. They put puck on net and found a way to get bodies in front of Price to make life harder for him. It's frustrating that they can't take a similar approach more often.

-Welcome back Jordan Staal. He finally broke through in terms of production and recorded three points. But beyond that, he played easily his best game of his comeback. He was strong in all three zones, physical along the boards and a presence all over the ice.

-Much has been made of the need for Staal or Malkin to step up offensively in the wake of Crosby's absence. But the defense, particulalry Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski, probably needed to step up as well. Both players did that and them some tonight with multiple points.

-Buzzkill Alert: We're not sure this was the best effort by the Canadiens. They played a tough grueling game last night against the Rangers on the road. They probably weren't all that fresh for this game.

-Tyler Kennedy stepped up. He was a presence around the net and created a few scoring chances.

-Malkin only got an assist, but he had a much better game than his stats would indicate. He was strong down low and did his fair share of creating scoring opportunities. He even had a decent night in the faceoff circling going 8 for 15 (53 percent).

-The Penguins led in shots, 36-22.

-Malkin led the game with seven.

-Plekanec led the Canadiens with four.

-Martin led the game with 26:36 of ice time.

-Wisniewski led the Canadiens with 23:29.

-The Canadiens led in faceoffs, 33-28 (54 percent).

-Plekanec was 13 for 24 (54 percent).

-Talbot was 9 for 18 (50 percent).

-Spacek led the game with five blocked shots.

-Letang led the Penguins with four.

-Staal's last three-point game came in a 5-4 overtime road win against the Rangers, March 4, 2010. He also had the game-winner in that game as well.

-Staal (141 points) moved ahead of Petr Nedved (140), Troy Loney (140), Ryan Malone (139) and Rod Schutt (139) for 40th place on the team's all-time scoring list.

-Letang (119) moved ahead of Orest Kindrachuk (118) for 64th place.

-Goligoski (85) moved ahead of Darius Kasparaitis (83) and Milan Kraft (82) for 95th place.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

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