-Greetings on another chilly, wet early spring day. Remember how awesome it was in the early part of spring last year with warm temperatures, sunny skies and tree and flowers blooming? Well it's the exact opposite of that now. We guess if the hockey season started late, spring can start late.
-A slightly different Penguins team will try to extend their winning streak to 13 games tonight. Brenden Morrow will make his Penguins debut after 13 seasons with the Stars. Morrow looks like he'll be on the second line with Dustin Jeffrey and James Neal. Don't expect anything fancy in Morrow's game. He plays "ugly." Almost all of his goals are scored around the blue paint. He forechecks like someone kidnapped his family. And he battles for every inch of ice. THis is a poor man's Gary Roberts.
-Assuming Matt Cooke plays tonight, we would assume Beau Bennett is a healthy scratch. Bennett filled in for Cooke on the third line at today's morning skate. That's not an indictment on Bennett but if he's not going to play on the first three lines, he shouldn't play. A fourth line role doesn't benefit him or the team at this juncture.
-Simon Despres was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL in the aftermath of the Douglas Murray deal. Murray is on the roster but he's not physically here in Pittsburgh as of yet. With Despres being the only defenseman who is doesn't have to clear waivers to go to the AHL, it was simply a numbers game. Once the 23-man roster limit is lifted after Apri 3, Despres should be back here in no time flat.
-This is reminiscent of the situation Alex Goligoski was in during the 2008-09 season. After he played well in the first half of that season, he was assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL after Sergei Gonchar returned to the lineup after recovering from a shoulder injury. It wasn't because Goligoski played bad. It was because he was on an entry-level contract like Despres is now.
-There are calls for the Penguins to simply "get rid" of Deyrk Engelland or Robert Bortuzzo to clear a spot for Depres. Even if an asset like Bortuzzo or Engelland aren't offering you much, you don't simply cut them or put them on waivers. This is asset management. All it takes is one general manager to find value in a player and offer Ray Shero a player or a draft pick for them.
-Assuming he plays, this could be Engelland's last game with the Penguins. With Murray in place, there really isn't any reason to play Engelland outside of injuries. Murray is a better player and can fight, albeit not as well as Engelland. We can only assume Engelland plays tonight's game as if it's the Game 7 of his life. He can show the coaches he deserves to play and/or he can showcase his abilities to a potential trade partner with the Penguins.
-There are a few new numbers on the roster tonight. Morrow has received No. 10 from Glass. No. 10 has a very hit or miss history with the Penguins:
-Glass took over No. 15 from Dustin Jeffrey. Previous No. 15s:
-Jeffrey will wear No. 17. Previous No 17s:
-Speaking of which, an unfortunate choice for tonight's Icetime cover:
-Speaking of Murray, Tanner Glass had a fantastic quote about him today: "Forechecking Doug Murray is not fun. When you hit that guy, it’s like you hit the boards and it’s a human being."
-While as a member of the Canucks, Glass once fought Murray in the 2010 preaseason after Glass hit San Jose's Joe Pavelski:
-Nice to know someone like Murray has your back.
-Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges, a former teammate with Murray in San Jose, said: “He’s a big, physical defenseman. I played with him in the minors and San Jose for a year and a half. He can really impose his will physically. He’s one of those guys that keeps it real simple. He’s not going to go coast to coast and do anything flashy. He makes the good first pass. He’s solid in his own end. And when he catches you in the tracks there, you better be ready for it.”
-Gorges had an interesting take on the respect Gorges commands around the league: "With they’re streak they’ve got going and they players the have, they bring in a guy like Brenden Morrow who is a sandpaper guy. He’s a competitor. He plays the right way and he makes life difficult for you."
-Murray is the first Swede to play for the Penguins since Nils Ekman in 2006-07. Like Murray, Shero also traded for Ekman from the Sharks.
-Michel Therrien coaches in Pittsburgh for the first time since being fired in 2009. We've been told a video tribute will be played in his honor. This is the only tribute we can think of:
-This is a new dry erase board outside the visiting locker room here at CEC. It shows the weather conditions outside the building and the ice conditions inside:
-Fans entering the barn:
-Downtown Robbie Brown:
-There are a few Canadiens fans. Carey Price:
-Michael Ryder x 2:
-Colby Armstrong has a Red Deer Rebels and Pittsburgh Penguins fan:
-And an Atlanta Thrashers fan:
-Jersey Foul of the Night: In honor of one former Stars captain making his Penguins debut, Another former Stars captain, Mike Modano
-Former Canadiens goaltender Tomas Vokoun has a fan:
-Former Penguin/Canadien Alexei Kovalev:
-And former Penguin/Canadiens Alex ei Kovalev:
-Jersey of the Night: We can't say we've encountered too many fans of former Penguins/Canadiens enforcer Reid Simpson in our travels:
-The Penguins' starters are Matt Cooke, Brenden Morrow, Brandon Sutter, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Douglas Murray and the great Joe Vitale.
-The Canadiens' starters are Brian Gionta, Tomas Plekanec, Michael Ryder, Josh Gorges, P.K. Subban and Carey Price.
-Their scratches are Mike Blunden, Tomas Kaberle and Ryan White.
-No Jimerson. No anthem photo.
19:47: Fleury tries to cover a puck which slides in off the left wing but fumbles it a bit. Ryder beat Martin to the puck and flings it to the crease from a bad anngle on the left wing. Fleury has his back to the play and makes a "save" with the back of his right leg.
17:34: Tyler Kennedy want to keep his job. After Dumont hits him into the boards in front of the Penguins' bench, the drop the gloves with Gabriel Dumont at center ice. They lock up immediately with Kennedy swinging a bunch of wild right fists. Dumont tries to wrestle away but ends up getting positioned with his back to Kennedy. They mostly wrestle around before falling to the ice. You don't see too many fights where Kennedy (5-foot-11, 183 pounds) has a decided size advantage as he did on Dumont (5-foot-9, 170 pounds).
16:58: Off pass from Cooke, Bennett races up the right wing and snaps off a wrister which Price gloves.
15:42: To the left of the cage, Plekanec settles a puck which is shot into is back. He deals a pass to Ryder trailing in the left circle. Rider lifts a wrister to the far side. Fleury gets a pice of it. It glances off the far post and deflects out of play.
14:27: Subban flings a wrister from the right point. xx is positioned in the slot and re-directs it wih his forehand wide to the right of the cage.
14:06: The Canadiens are controlling play. Subban races into the offensive zone and deals a pss to Pacioretty above the left circle. Pacioretty snaps off a wrister which Fleury kicks out.
13:21: Crosby races into the offensive zone, fends off Andrei Markov and lifts a backhander on net from the right wing. Price fights it off.
11:47: Jeffrey flings a puck from the right wing corner on his backhand into the crease. Price covers it up. Morrow barges in and gives a hack to price hoping for a rebound. A few of the Canadiens take issue and a small scrum ensues. During a television stoppage, a video tribute - complete with a snippet from the "The Don't Care" rant - is played to honor Therrien. It gets a polite applause.
10:26: Fending off Eaton, Gallagher whips a wrsiter on net from the right circle. Fleury fights it off. David Desharnais recovers the rebound in the right circle and puts it on net. FLeury fights it off as the Canadiens crash in.
9:10: Byslma has some odd lines out right now. Crosby is centering Glass and Bennett.
8:36: Taking a pass at the right point, Subban hammers a one-timer wide to the far side.
5:35: Morrow introduces himself to his new fans with a shoulder hit on Subban behind the Montreal net which sends the rambunctious Canadiens defensman stumbling to his knees.
4:57: After Martin turns the puck over behind his net, Dumont snaps off awrister from point blank rang on the left side of the cage wide to the far side.
3:08: With an acre of ice to work with, Jarred Tinordi takes a pass on the left point and cranks a slapper on net. Fleury kicks out.
2:42: With Gallagher skating through a shooting lane, Pacioretty lifts a wrister on net which Fleury eats up.
2:32: Gallgher flings a blind wirster from the right point on net through traffic. Fleury kicks it out.
2:11: Dupuis pushe a puck up the left wing and slides a backhander on net. Price holds it out. Dupuis barges to the csea and chosp a backhander on net with the rebound. Price says no.
0:00: End of period. Canadiens 0, Penguins 0.
-Outside of a good rush by Dupuis late, that was a pretty one-side period of hockey in favor of the Canadiens. They controlled the puck for the most part in the Canadiens' zone. They put a lot of quality shots on net. If not for Marc-Andre Fleury, Montreal has a lead.
-Morrow showed the elements of his game which brought him here. He was in the high traffic areas. He initiated contact. He just didn't seem to have a ton of chemistry with Neal or Jeffrey.
-On six shifts, Morrow had 4:35 of ice time
-Letang looked okay in his first game back from injury. He didn't take nearly as many chances as he usually does and seemed to play things safe for the most part.
-Gallagher seemed to create a lot of trouble for the Penguins. He's a fireball of a player.
-The Canadiens have a 10-5 lead in shots.
-Dupuis, Gallagher, Pacioretty and Ryder each lead the game with two shots.
-Subban leads the game with 8:11 of ice time.
-Letang led the Penguins wth 7:48. Martin was right behind him with 7:44.
-The Canadiens have a 9-8 edge in faceoffs.
-Jeff Halpern is 3 for 4 (75 percent).
-Sutter is 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
18:45: Big save. Gallagher push the puck p the right wing and backhand chips a feed to the slot. xx is there and backhand taps it on net. Fleury kicks it out.
18:08: Neal barrles up the left wing and chips a wrister on net. Price gloves it.
16:32: The Penguins get a little lucky. Plekanec weaves his way behidn the net, fends off Sutter and whips a backhanded pass from the right circle. Ryder muscles by Engelland and taps the puck on net. It hits off the cross bar and bounces off Fleury's left leg and out of danger.
15:49: Subban battles for a puck in the right wing corner and appears to get hauled down by a hook from Crosby. Morrow kind of comes in and finishes off Subban for good measure. No call.
15:24: Lars Eller whips a wrister on net from the right half wall. Fleury fights it off. Letang skates teh rebound out of danger.
14:59: Attendance is announced as 18,646. It is the team's 271st consecutive sellout
14:42: Dumont races up the right wing and and snaps off a shot which Fleury gloves.
14:33: Eaton controls the puck behind the Penguins net and his hooked up by Ryder. That's two minutes. Neal, Crosby, Kunitz, Letang and Martin take the ice.
13:25: Letang pinches in on the left wing boards to recover a puck and is thrown to the ice by Markov.
13:12: Letang taks a pass in the left circle, moves in a bit and rips a wrister over the cage.
12:33: The Ryder penalty expires. The Penguins didn't offer much of a threat there.
11:54: Gallgaher races up the left wing and lifts a wrister on net. Fleury knocks it dead and covers.
11:28: Eaton is nabbed for delay of game after he knocked after he knocked the Penguins' net off its moornings. Gallgher drove to the net and Eaton kind of ran into it. Sutter, Cooke, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
11:20: The Canadiens try to run the Ryan Whitney Play with Markov as the trigger man on the backdoor. He takes a pass deep on the left wing and jabs it on net. Fleury reads it all the way and kicks it out with his right leg. Martin is there to clear the puck down ice.
10:15: Desharnais steals a puck on thin the slot and whacks a slapper which hits something in front.
9:28: The Eaton minor expires. The Penguins limited the Canadiens' space and time in the zone during that two minutes.
9:00: An EN reader spotted the greatest jersey foul ever:
-Two in the morning and the party's still jumping...
7:39: Morrow steal a puck in the offenisve zone and deals a backhanded pass to Neal on the right wing. Neal ris p awrister which Dumont blocks partially. The puck hops up and is gloved by Price.
6:51: Plekanec pushes the puck into the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass for Gionta above the left circle. Gionta steps up and puts a wrister over the cage.
6:41: The Penguins strike first. After Martin blocks a shot by Plekanec, Kunitz settles a puck in his own zone, looks up and hits Crosby with a cross-ice stretch pass from the left wing to the right wing. Crosby gains the offensive zone, gets a step on Tinordi and rips a sizzling wrister by Prices' blocker on ther far side. What a pass by Kunitz. He gets an assist along with Orpik. The "Hey Song" is always sizzling. Penguins 1-0.
5:24: Adams heads to the dressing room with a towel over his nose. Replays show a puck glancing off his nose during a puck battle.
4:57: Cooke gains the offensive zon but falls to his knees on the right wing. He's still able to backhand a pass to Sutter streaking down the slot. Sutter takes the pass on his backhand, flips to his forehand and rips it on net. Price battles it away.
3:55: After Neal misses on a hit against Subban in the left wing corner of the Montreal zone, Eaton flings a wrister from the left point whch is juuust wide to the far side.
2:55: It looked like Morrow went down the run way to the dressing room.
2:21: Sutter put the puck up the left wing, dekes between Francis Bouillon and Armstrong and rips a wrister wide on the near side.
1:51: Subban tes p a slapper from the right point wide on the near side.
0:49: Plekanec pushes the puc up the right win and rips a rister on net. Fleury eats it up as Kennedy is shoved into him by Gionta. A few of the Penguins' players jump Gionta and a scrum ensues. Fleury is on the ice in some heavy discomfort. Athletic trainer Chris Stewart attends to him. Fleury eventually recovers to his skates and appears to be fine. That was an odd play. No penalties.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Canadiens 0.
-The good: The Penguins scraped out a 1-0 lead. The bad: Adams and Morrow did not finish the period on the bench and Fleury appeared to be a little dinged up after getting hit by a teammate.
-Things leveled out in terms of overall play that period. Neither team really maintained any sort of prolonged attack. If anything both teams were a little sloppy with shot selection. There were a lot of shots hitting glass for both teams.
-Brendan Gallagher has been the best player for both teams. He's been a terror in the offensive zone with several scoring chances and he even drew a penalty which led to Montreal's only power play.
-The Canadiens have a 24-12 lead in shots.
-Pacioretty leads the game with four shots.
-Subban leads the game with 17:12 of ice time.
-Letang leads the Penguins with 15:45.
-The Canadiens control faceoffs, 25-16 (61 percent).
-Halpern is 7 for 9 (78 percent).
-Sutter is 7 for 13 (54 percent).
-Martin leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Alex Galchenyuk leads the Canadiens with two blocked shots.
-Dupuis, Sutter and Crosby each lead the Penguins with two shots.
20:00: This isn't good. Tomas Vokoun is in net for Fleury. Fleury isn't even on the bench. It looks like Adams and Morrow are back.
19:38: Kennedy whacks a slapper from the right point wide to the far side.
19:29: Cooke is sent off the ice for roughing. Root Sports showed him giving the business to Gionta on the opening faceoff, presumably for the Kennedy/Fleury collision.
18:36: Subban tees up a one-timer from the right circle. Vokoun kicks it out.
17:29: The COoke minor is kileld with little threat from the Canadiens.
16:27: Travis Moen snaps off a wrister from the left wing. Vokoun kicks it out of play with his left leg.
16:00: The Penguins get another power play. Subban hits Morrow on the bright wing boards of the Penguins zone juuust before the puck awrrives. That's two minutes for interference. Morrow hasn't wasted time endearing himself to his new fans as he's mixed it up with the Pittsburgh nemesis all night. Neal, Crosby, Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.
15:15: Letang snaps off a wrister from the slotwide to the left of the cage.
14:29: Martin strikes a slapper from the center point wide, potentially on purpose. Kunitz is to the right of the cage, taks the puck off the end boards and tries to jab it in but shoots off the mark.
14:00: The Subban minor is killed. The Penguins maintained puck possesion but didn't do much with it.
13:23: Bouillon snaps off wrister from the letft point wide. Kennedy blocks it partially.
13:08: Kennedy drives the puck up the left wing, pulls up in the faceoff circle and deals a pass to Cooke trailing. Cooke strikes a one-timer which Price turns away.
10:47: Sutter races up the right wing and whacks a slapper which Markov blocks partially with his stick.
9:56: Kunitz palys a puck behind the Montreal net from the right wing. Crosby is behind the cage with Subban and pokes it to Dupuis in the slot. Dupuis is wound up and booms a one-timer on net. Price is in position and denies it.
9:29: Letang snaps off a cross ice pass from the right wing wall in the neutral zone to Crosby races into the offensive zone on the left wing. Crosby gains the zone and leaves a drop pass for Kunitz who booms a slapper on net. Price gloves it.
8:50: Alexei Emelin booms a slapper from the right point over the cage.
6:38: Galchenyuk snaps off a wrister from the left half wall. Vokoun steers it away.
6:24: Kunitz makes a terrible pass from his right wing corner to ... Plekanec in the right circle. Plekanec takes the pass and rips a wrister on net. Vokoun is in position and eats up the shot. Kunitz owes Vokoun a beer.
5:54: Markov booms a slapper from the left point. It hit some and plops right in front of the blue paint. Vokoun covers it. Crosby appears to give Gionta some grief.
5:15: Kennedy forces a turnover behind the Montreal net. After he battles for possession with Cooke and few Canadiens, he tries to jam in a forehand wraparound attempt from the left of the cage. Price holds it out. Cooke battles his way for position and tries to jam in the rebound. No dice.
5:05: Off a turnover by Subban, Crosby whacks heavy slapper from the slot. Price fights it off. Dupuis and Crosby each have chances at the rebound but can't get a clean handle on the puck.
4:13: After an icing, the Penguins call time out to get a breather.
4:05: Pacioretty snaps off a wrister from the righ hlaf wall which hits something and trickles juuuust wide to the near side.
2:09: Subban whacks a slapper from the right point wide to the far side.
1:43: Adams pushes the puck up the right wing and chops a slapper which Josh Gorges blocks partially with his stick.
1:00: The Penguins have not allowed the Canadiens to gt the puck into the offensive zone for about one minute
0:55: As Price is lifted. Pacioretty lifts a wrister from the right wing. Vokoun fights it off. Gionta is there fore the rebound but falls to the ice. THe Penguins get the puck out of danger.
0:29: Markov settlse a puck at the right point and chops a slapper. Ryder appeared to re-direct it on net. Vokoun knocks it dead and covers. The Canadiens call a time-out to get organized.
0:20: Off a faceoff win, Sutter floats the puck down ice for clear. Subban races back to touch up for icing.
0:08: Pacioretty flings a wrister from the right wing. Vokoun fights it off.
0:00: End of game. Orpik shoves Ryder into Vokoun. Nothing comes of it. Penguins 1, Canadiens 0.
-First things first, Dan Bylsma offered little in the way of an update on Fleury. He simply said he was not able to go back out to the ice at the start of the third period and he will be further evaluated.
-Of the play which Fleury was injured, Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said, "If you watch the replay, their own guy falls on Fleury. Pretty much, it’s self explanatory."
-It seemed like a battle for positioning in the crease to us. Those happen a million times, mostly without a franchise goaltender being injured. The Penguins went after Gionta multiple times. And that's to be expected. It's like when the Senators went after Matt Cooke when he injured Erik Karlsson, Feb. 13. It might seem silly but in this sport, you stand up for your teammates regardless of the circumstance.
-To us, this felt like one of the least deserved wins in the 13-game winning streak the Penguins are on. They simply didn't match the Canadiens urgency in terms of puck possesion and offensive chances. Montreal controlled most of the game in this fashion. The Penguins got a few lucky hops but you need some luck to win 13 consecutive games.
-The Penguins' goaltending was outstanding. Fleury was tested quite a bit before he was injured. And Vokoun kicked out several quality chances. If there were any questions about the quality of the team's goaltending, they were answered tonight.
-Brenden Morrow was okay in his debut. He might not have been too familiar with the team's system or his new linemates, but he did offer a physical element as he engaged Montreal defenders quite a bit with the body. On 17 shifts, Morrow had 12:55 of ice time including just 27 on the power play. He had no shots.
-Kris Letang looked rather ordinary in his return. He didn't have a great burst to his skating and he didn't seem to willing to take chances with going deep or attempting passes. He wasn't bad, he just wasnt Kris Letang-good.
-Letang had 24:20 of ice time on 26 shifts, including 3:33 on the power play and recorded two shots.
-We thought we would see more from Deryk Engelland. He did get beat by Michael Ryder for one scoring chance in the second period but he was okay. He probably needed a better effort is he hoped to keep his job.
-The Penguins' power play looked rather uninsipired tonight. It did a solid job of maitaining possession in the offensive zone but didn't really present much of a threat.
-Brenden Gallagher was fantastic for Montreal. He created so many things by pure and simple hustle. He is a fireball of activity.
-On the Crosby goal, Price said, ""Obviously he’s the best player in the world. Five millimeters was the difference in the game tonight."
-On the Crosby goal, Therrien said, "He’s the best player in the world. We got beat tonight by the best player in the world by the perfect shot. He’s tough to contain."
-Therrien said he was surprised by the video tribute the Penguins offered for him and called the gesture classy.
-The Canadiens dominated shots, 37-25.
-Max Pacioretty led the game with seven shots.
-Crosby led the Penguins with six.
-Paul Martin led the game with 25:12 of ice time.
-P.K. Subban led the game with 24:55.
-The Canadiens led in faceoffs, 35-28 (56 percent).
-Jeff Halpern was 11 for 18 (61 percent).
-Brandon Sutter was 11 for 19 (58 percent).
-Martin, Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges each led the game with three blocked shots.
-The Penguins won their 13th consecutive game, the second-longest streak in franchise history, second only to their NHL-record streak of 17 games in 1992-93.
-This stat from Penguins broadcaster Bob Grove is mind-blowing:
Tonight's shutout was the Penguins' first at home vs. Montreal since Les Binkley had 33 saves in a 4-0 win on March 3, 1971. Yikes.— Pens Radio Network (@PensRadioNet) March 27, 2013
-Like the tweet says, Yikes.
-This was the fourth shared shutout in franchise history. The previous three:
Gilles Meloche/Roberto Romano - 6-0 at Canucks, Jan. 23, 1987
Ken Wregget/Tom Barrasso - 4-0 vs. Bruins (at Atlanta), Feb. 8, 1993
Brent Johnson/Marc-Andre Fleury - 3-0 vs. Islanders, Feb. 2, 2011
-You might remember the reason Johnson had to leave that game:
-The Penguins are remain #UndefEATON (11-0-0-) with Mark Eaton in the line up.
-And they are ... something ... something ... #ToMORROW (1-0-0) with Morrow in the lineup.
-Brooks Orpik tied Ron Schock (619) for sixth-most games in franchise history. He needs two more to tie Ron Stackhouse (621) for fifth-most overall and most among a defenseman.
-Orpik (119 points) passed Orest Kindrachuk (118) for 69th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list.