-Greetings on a beautiful, spring day in Pittsburgh. It's a little overcast, a little muggy but mostly pleasant on an otherwise shaky day in America as a whole.
-There are greater security measures in place at Consol Energy Center today for everyone, media included. It's nothing too invasive. Just a quick wanding and a check of our computer bag. But it's a sobering reminder of how the world has changed ever so slightly after Monday's bombings at a major sporting event.
-The Bruins and Sabres will be wearing decals on the back of their helmets tonight:
-It'll be interesting to see if the Brenden Morrow-Pascal Dupuis-Beau Bennett line, assuming it's reunited tonight, can recapture the spark they had Saturday against the Panthers. Despite having Dupuis playing center, a position he's not used to, they displayed some marvelous chemistry that game.
-Like the Penguins, the Canadiens enter the game with a few injuries. The only difference between them and the Penguins is that the Canadiens don't have the depth to account for them. Michael Ryder, the team's leading top scoring forward as well defensemen Alexei Emelin and Raphael Diaz each are dealing with injuries. Ryder is a dangerous scorer and his offence is difficult to replace. Emelin and Diaz are both back-end defenders who by themselves aren't huge losses, but the Canadiens simply don't have capable replacements on their bottom defensive pairing to fill those holes. Davis Drewiske and Yannick Weber will have to step up tonight.
-We're eager to see Brenden Gallagher in person. He has been one of the most impressive rookies in the NHL this season. While not a large person, he is eager to go th the net and create problems for opposing goaltenders. And he has a nice bundle of skills to go with his toughess.
-After two bad games in which he was pulled, starting goaltender Carey Price will get a night off tonight in place of backup Peter Budaj. Every goaltender hits a rough patch of games. Ideally, you don't want it to happen right when the postseason is about to start but Price is talented and mentally tough enough to get past this. He will make the Canadiens one of the best teams in the postseason.
-The Penguins will induct Mark Recchi and former team physician Dr. Chip Burke into the team's hall of fame tonight. It should never be overlooked how important Recchi was in that Penguins' first Stanley Cup championship. With Mario Lemieux dealing with a back ailment most of that season, Recchi, on a line with John Cullen and Kevin Stevens primarily, carried that team's offense most of the regular season:
-Some pregame photos. The barn:
-If you're wondering where the ice (paint included) from the Frozen Four ended up, it was dumped out back behind the back lot of the building:
-Some sights around the barn. It took a little longer for everyone to enter the building tonight:
-We always seem to run into a Craig Adams fan:
-Jarome Iginla has a fan amid a sea of Sidney Crosby fans:
-The man being honroed tonight, Mark Recchi:
-There are a few Canadiens fans on hand. Larry Robinson:
-Dan Bylsma has a Mighty Ducks fan on hand:
-The Piece, Rob Scuderi:
-Gilles Meloche Cleveland Barons:
-Jersey of the Night: here's an all-timer. Jock Callendar:
-This tweet made our day:
@emptynetters my 4 y/o son saw the Lemieux statue and asked if it was horses or gorillas. I couldn't explain— Mike Johnston (@mikejohnston5) April 17, 2013
-The Penguins' starters are Beau Bennett, Pascal Dupuis, Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray, Matt Niskanen and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Sidney Crosby, Deryk Engelland, Eric Hartzell, Dustin Jeffrey, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.
-Simon Despres playing in palce of Engellan is a surprise.
-The Canadiens' starters are David Desharnais, Brenden Gallagher, Max Pacioretty, Francis Bouillon, Andrei Markov and Peter Budaj.
-Their scratches are Nathan Beaulieu, Mike Blunden, Alexei Emelin, Tomas Kaberle, Michael Ryder and Ryan White.
-Jeff Jimerson pulls double duty with two anthems:
19:30: Desharnais tries to whip a forehand wraparound attempt on net from the right of the cage but Dupuis back checks and breaks up the shot with his stick.
17:32: A slapper by Drewiske from the left point is blocked by Despres.
17:18: On a forecheck, the great Joe Vitale smacks Drewiske into the left wing corner boards of the Montreal zone.
17:11: The hitting is heavy earlier. Travis pushes the puck up the left wing and is sandwiched to the ice in the right wing corner by Murray and Adams.
15:48: Taking a pass from Kris Letang above the left cirlce. Kunitz whips a wrister wide to the far side.
15:20: Off a turnover by the Penguins in their own zone, Josh Gorges drives a slapper from above the left circle on net. Fleury eats it up.
14:30: P.K. Subban controls the puck to boos for the first time tonight.
14:24: Play is halted as Cooke is ganged up on by Brian Gionta, Rene Bourque and Tomas Plekanec at one of the gates on the Montreal bench. Cooke gets a roughing minor. Not sure why. That strikes us as a reputation penalty. Adams, Jussi Jokinen, Murray and Brooks Orpik take the ice.
14:00: Subban booms a one-timer from center point wide to the right of the cage.
13:29: Subban chops a one-timer from the left point. It gets blocked in front and is cleared down ice by the Penguins.
13:22: Things get evened up as Gallagher is called for high sticking Orpik in front of hte Penguins net. We'll have four on four for 58 seconds.
12:36: Brandon Sutter takes advantage of the open ice four on four and gets the Penguins a lead. Taking a neutral zone pass from Niskanen, he races up the left wing boards one-on-one with Subban. Subban gives him an acre of ice to work with. Sutter enters the left circle and snaps off a wrister which sneaks under the glove hand of Budaj on the far side. We're not sure if that hit off Subban's leg or something but Budaj loked fooled by that shot. Niskanen and Letang et assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.
12:42: The Cooke minor expires. The Penguins will have a power play for 1:02.
11:47: Letang glides a half slapper from the left point on net. Budaj kicks it out.
10:30: Brenden Morrow keeps on keeping on. Dupuis pushes the puck up the left wing while being hounded by Gallegher, and Francis Bouillon. As Gallagher, Bouillon and Jeff Halpern combine to hit him, Dupuis sort of forces a pass through the traffic to Adams above the blue paint. Adams fans on the shot but he puck slides to Morrow trailing in the left circle. Morrow settles the puck and whips a wrister by Budaj. That was some brutal defense by the Canadiens. Dupuis and Adams get assists. Penguins 2-0.
10:20: Gabirel battles his way up the left wing and whips a wrister on net from a bad angle. Fleury kicks it out.
9:00: Markov strikes a slapper from the left half wall which hits something in front and is deflected away
8:53: Fleury is seeing everything. Bouillion takes a pass at center point and drives a slapper on net. The shooting lane opens up like the Red Sea for Fleury who easily gloves the puck.
6:10: The fourth line is hiting anything in white. Instead of recapping it, here's the official play by play from the league:
4:23: Plekanec sneaks a shot from the left half wall. Fleury fights it off.
4:12: Gionta has a chance ith a loose puck in tight but Orpik leans down to block it.
2:53: Subban flings a wrister from the left point Fleury knocks it dead and covers. Fleury then punches Dumont in the knee with his blocker. A small scrum ensues. Prust and Morrow mix it up a bit before officials break everyone up.
1:49: Niskanen tees up a slapper from the left point. Gallagher challenges and blocks. he pays a price or it as helays on the ice for several moments.
1:38: Play continues as the Penguins control the puck. The Penguins end up with a power play as Pacioretty is called for tripping. Gallagher limps off the ice and heads to the dressing room. Dupuis, Tyler Kennedy, Morrow, Letang and Niskanen take the ice.
0:55: Dupuis hugle after a puck in the left circle and lifts a wrister over the cage.
0:21: Another one of the new guys strikes. Kunitz takes a pas from Letang down low to the right of the cage. He holds, holds, holds then finally snaps a pass through the crease to Iginla on the left wing. As Budaj dives to his right, Iginla flings an easy wrister into the cage. That pass actually went through the legs of Letang who crashed into crease down the slot. The Penguins are running away with this early. Kunitz and Letang get assists. The "Hey Song" is played: Penguins 3-0.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Canadiens 0.
-Think about this. These are the two best teams in the Eastern Conference based on the standings and there was a HUGE difference between them during that first 20 minutes. What a sobering display of dominance by the Penguins.
-Marc-Andre Fleury had a very strong period. He wasn't fight in the puck. The Canadiens had some solid chances early and he turned them away with ease.
-Adams, Glass and the great Joe Vitale are playing like they want to keep their jobs.
-The physical element of this game has been one-sided. The Penguins initiated contact most of that period and made the Canadiens pay a price.
-Brenden Morrow is really starting to look comfortable with his new team.
-The Canadiens have an 11-9 lead in shots.
-Plekanec leads the game with three shots.
-Kunitz leads the Penguins with two.
-Letang leads the game with 9:36 of ice time.
-Subban leads the Canadiens with 8:04.
-The Canadiens have a 13-5 lead in faceoffs (72 percent).
-Lars Eller is 3 for 3 (100 percent).
-Sutter is 3 for 5 (60 percent).
-Murray and Dupuis each lead the game with two blocked shots.
20:00: Price has now taken over for Budaj.
19:40: Kennedy chops a slapper from the right half wall which is blocked partially.
18:55: On a delayed penalty Bouillon chops as lapper on net. Fleury kicks it out with his right skate.
18:35: The Canadiens get a much-needed power play as Kennedy is called for interference against Gionta. he drove Gionta into the Penguins cage away from the puck. Adams, Dupuis, Murray and Adams take the ice.
18:32: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Yannick Weber drives a one-timer from center point. Fleury kicks it out.
17:15: Chris Kunitz gets a rare shift on the penalty kill.
16:35: Kennedy's minor is killed. Penguins fan applaud their team for the effort.
15:53: Brenden Morrow is fitting in just nicely. Bennett chops a puck past Gorges at the right blueline of the Montreal zone. He pushes it up the right wing, enters the right circle deals a pass across the slot. It glances off the stick of Drewiske but Morrow is still able to punch in the puck on the blocker side of a helpless Price. What a play by Bennett. Bennet and Niskanen get assists. Penguins 4-0.
14:09: Halpern has a chance in tight to the left of the cage but Fleury is right there to hold the puck out.
12:43: Morrow thumps Eller with a strong hit on the left wing boards.
12:18: There goes the shutout. Eller chips the puck in deep behind the Penguins' net. Prust chases after it with Letang pursuing and deals a quick backhanded pass to to Gionta trailing in from the left circle. Gionta one-touches it by Fleury on the short side. Gionta gets punched to the ice by Orpik afterwards. What a heads up play by the Canadiens. They caught the Penguins napping there a bit. Prust and Eller get assists. Penguins 4-1.
11:40: Off a drop pass, Plekanec wires a slapper from the right circle. Fleury eats it up.
10:22: The Penguins get another power play as Gallagher is called for hooking xxx. Morrow, Letang, Kennedy, Bennett and Niskanen take the ice.
9:30: Another goal for another new guy. Morrow barrels up the left wing and whips a wrister on net. Price fight it off but allows a poor rebound to his left. Sutter beats Bouillon to the puck and taps it into the cage off the left post. That was all hustle there by Sutter. Morrow and Kennedy get assists. The "Hey Song" is getting winded. Penguins 5-1.
7:16: Orpik takes a pass from Fleury in the right wing corner and BLAM! He's run over by Eller. Oprik recovers to his skates no worse for wear.
6:43: Orpk extracts a little revenge. On a chip and chase play into same corner, Orpik slams Eller to the boards and staggers him with a shoulder check.
6:08: Dumont hustles up the left wing boards and whips a wrister on net. Fleury eats it up.
5:20: After an icing call, the Penguins call a timeout to get a breather. Attendance is announced as 18,626. It is the team's 276th consecutive sellout.
5:02: Drewiske whips a wrister on net from the left circle. Fleury fights it off. A few Canadiesn players whack at Fleury for a rebound. Glass grabs Pacioretty by a headlock and wrestles him to the ground. Glass ends up getting a roughing minor. That was kind of ticky tack. Adams, Dupuis, Murray and Orpik take the ice.
4:35: Subban pushes the puck up the ice through the neutral zone to boos. Dupuis knocks him off the puck and sends him to the skates. Boos quickly turn to cheers.
3:52: More boos to cheers. Subban corrals the puck in the right corner of his zone and is knocked to the ice by Kunitz who is again getting some short-handed ice time.
3:02: The Glass minor is killed. Not much of a threat by the Canadiens.
2:25: The Penguins get a litlte sloppy again and the Canadiens cash in. Taking a pass in the slot, Eller directs it to the right wing as Despres fights him off. Rookie Alex Galchenyuk takes the pass on his backhand, switches to his forehand and lifts a wrister over the right shoulder of Fleury. What a display of talent by Galchenyuk. The Penguisn looked al ittle disorganized on that play. Niskanen and Despres were on the ice and they're not usually a pairing. Eller and Moen get assists. Penguins 5-2.
0:30: Gallagher tees up a slapper from the right point on net. Fleury eats it up. Play is halted as Cooke is shaken up a bit.. on the right wing boards of the Montreal zone. After Gallagher shot the puck, Cooke tried to hit him. Gallagher braced for hit and ended up whipping his stick around into Cooke's faced. Cooke is cut so it's a double minor. He heads to the dressing room for repairs. Iginla, Dupuis Kunitz, Letang and Sutter take the ice.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 5, Canadiens 2.
-First things first. Jussi Jokinen has recorded a shift since 10:44 was remaining in the second period. No word on his status.
-The Canadiens' play around their own net has been attrocious. Neither Montreal goaltender should be to blame for this. The Montreal defense has allowed the Penguins far too much freedom around the cage.
-It's a small victory but the Penguins' outstanding work on the penalty kill continues for the second consecutive game.
-The Canadiens have a 22-17 lead in shots.
-Plekanec leads the game with four.
-Dupuis and Morrow each lead the Penguins with three.
-Letang leads the game with 18:42 of ice time.
-Markov leads the Canadiens with 15:54.
-The Canadiens have a 23-16 lead in faceoffs (59 percent).
Sutter is 7 for 13 (54 percent).
-Plekanec is 8 for 15 (53 percent).
-Murray leads the game with five blocked shots.
-None of the Canadiens players has more than one.
-The steely glare of Matt Niskanen is displayed on the cover of Ice Time:
20:00: The Penguins will have 3:30 of power-play time on fresh ice. Iginla, Bennett, Dupuis, Letang and Kunitz take the ice.
19:03: Off a pass from Letang, Kunitz hammers a one-timer from the right circle. Price kicks it out.
17:23: Despres sets up Dupuis for a one-timer above the right circle but Dupuis fans on the shot. The Candiens clear the puck down ice.
16:50: Dupuis lifts a wrister from right circle. Price fights it off.
15:51: More sloppy play by the Penguins leads to another goal. Pacioretty chips the puck up the left wing. He beats Murray for the puck and leaves a drop pass for Desharnais. Desharnais deals a pass to Dumont in the right circle. Dumont swats it by Fleury's glove hand for his first career NHL goal. Cooke appeared late on the bachcheck there. Penguins 5-3.
14:36: Another goal for another new guy. Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Murray corrals the puck at the right point. He simply flings it at the cage through the legs of Gionta and Weber. It sais through and beats Price on the glove side. Price looked a little lost. That's Murray's first goal with the Penguins and his first in 147 games. Iginla gets the only assist as he won the faceoff against Plekanec in the right circle. Penguins 6-3.
12:55: Play is halted as Morrow and Subban a wrestling in the Montreal zone. It's a full out Roman-Greco style match. They were battling for a puck in the right wing corner. and just decided to drop the gloves. They fall tothe ice with Subban holding Morrow in a head lock. They strugle to the sikates and Subban takes advantage and lands a few rabbit punches. Morrow wrestles free and lands on big right as the falls on top of Subban. This place is going nutes. "MORR-OOW! MORR-OOW" chants rain down. Morrow and Subban are chirping on another from the penalty boxes. Bourque got a roughing minor in hte middle of that for hitting Letang. The Penguins end up with a power play. Iginla, Dupuis, Kunitz, Letang and Niskanen take the ice.
11:43: Letang strikes a slapper form the left point. It hits off the near post and deflect to Niskanen in the right circle. Niskanen whips it on net immediately. Price dives ot his left and fights it off. Wow.
10:55: The Bourque minor is killed with little sustained pressure from the Penguins.
10:17: Gallagher has a backhander from the right circle fought off by Fleury. The rebound ends up with Weber at the center point. He tees up a slapper which Fleury battles away.
10:01: Vitale heads the dressing room in quite a bit of distress. He appeared to collapse a bit in the runway.
8:48: Moen chips a puck on net from the left wing. Fleyr gloves it. Murray and Moen exchange a few shoves after wardsu but nothign comes of it.
8:20: Bouillon snaps off a wrister from the left half wall on net. Depsite a screen by Prust, Fleury fights it off.
7:37: Bennett lifts a wrister from the left circle over the cage.
7:04: Galchenyuk snaps off a wrister from the left half wall. Fleury kicks it out.
5:06: Morrow and Prust are called for slashing one another in front of the Penguins' net. Four on four for two minutes..
4:40: Kennedy drives to the net from the right wing and attacks the crease but cant' get a clean shot off.
4:32: This thing is getting chippy as Kunitz and Subban mix it up near the Penguins' bench. Officials have had enough and send Subband to the dressing room. His night is over. He gets two minutes for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. The Penguins get another power play. Subban throws his stick down the runway to the dressing room. It's a four on three power play. Sutter, Iginla, Letang and Kunitz take the ice.
3:34: Letang sets up Sutter for a bit slapper in the left circle. Iginla dives it over the cage
3:11: Kunitz has a slapper from the right cirle blocked by Gorges.
2:46: Morrow rips a wrister from the right circle wide on the near side.
2:32: Play returns to five on five.
2:02: Kennedy chops a shot from the right point on net. Price steers it away.
1:24: Glass flings a wrister on net from the left wing. Price bats it away with his glove hand.
0:10: Montreal cashes in late. Weber flings a wrister from center point on net. Fleury fights it off. There's a battle for the rebound. Markov is in deep, cllocets it in the slot and roofs a backhnder by the glove hand of a sprawling Fleury. Desharnais and Weber get assists. Penguins 6, Canadiens 4.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 6, Canadiens 4.
-First things first. Jussi Jokinen left the game due to what the team reported to be an illness. Also, the great Joe Vitale left the game in the first period with what was termed as "just a bruise" after he blocked a shot.
-Things got kind of sloppy and chippy at the end due, but that was a pretty dominant performance by the Penguins. They imposed their will on the Canadiens physically and just took over the game with superior depth.
-The Penguins are missing some pretty high-end players in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Paul Martin. THe Canadiens are missing some solid role players such as Michael Ryder, Alexei Emelin and Raphael Diaz. Obviously, the players the Penguins are missing are light years better than the ones the Canadiens played without. But the difference is depth. The Penguins have first-round picks such as Beau Bennett and Simon Despres ready to step in. The Candiens have borderline NHLers such as Davis Drewiske and Yannick Weber. The Canadiens' injured players might not be as talented as the Penguins' players but they're more valuable based on each team's depth chart.
-With the exception of Jokinen, all the "new guys" were huge tonight. All six Penguisn goals were scored by players who have been acquired via trade within the past 12 months.
-Brenden Morrow showed why he's here. He's a latter-day Gary Roberts. He scores and fights and hits. He scored some tough ugly goals down low and threw his body around like he was 23-years-old. His wilingness to fight Pittsburgh nemesis P.K. Subban endeared him to his new fanbase. Add in the fact that he had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick and he's pretty popular right now.
-Jarome Iginla is looking more and more comfortable on the power play every game. He just knew where and when to be for that pass by Chris Kunitz on the back door.
-Douglas Murray continues to gel with Matt Niskanen. He just offers them a different element around their own net they didn't have before. It's one thing when Brooks Orpik and Deryk Engelland want to be nasty around their net. It's another when Douglas Murray is nasty around his own net.
-Pascal Dupuis continued to show his vesitility. He's not a center but he looks fairly comfortable in that position. The big thing with playing center on the Penguins is the defensive responsibilities on the backcheck. More often than not, the Penguins rely on the center to be the first man back. Dupuis is certainly capable of covering the ice necessary for those demands.
-Another solid game from Beau Bennett. If circumstances were different, he'd be a top-six forward. He looks so confident right now. THe only "problem" is that the Penguins have a ton of top-six forwards in front of him. His time will come.
-Niskanen had a very strong game. He was pretty aggressive defensively. Being teamed up with Murray has allowed him to take advantage of his offensive skillset.
-We can't blame either Canadiens goaltender. Peter Budaj and Carey Price were left out to dry all night. They allowed some iffy goals but the Canadiens' defense was atrocious, particularly below the faceoff dots.
-The only real minus to this game for the Penguins was how they kind of got sloppy and casual late with a large lead. The Canadiens kept attacking and cashed in with some quality looks at the net. That needs to be cleaned up.
-Marc-Andre Fleury was strong. Particularly early. Montreal had a little sustained pressure in the first period and Fleury turned them away.
-Brandon Sutter continues to star as the "old new guy." He stepped up in a larger role with Jokinen, Crosby and Malkin absent and scored two big goals, including his fifth game-winner of the season.
-The Canadiens led in shots, 35-29.
-Francis Bouillon led the game with five shots.
-Dupuis led the Penguins with four.
-Kris Letang led the game with 28:55 of ice time.
-Andrei Markov led the Canadiens with 22:56.
-The Canadiens led in faceoffs, 33-28 (54 percent).
-Jeff Halpern was 8 for 12 (67 percent).
-Sutter was 11 for 19 (58 percent).
-Murray and Brooks Orpik each led the game with five blocked shots.
-Travis Moen led the Canadiens with two blocked shots.
-Iginla became the 58th player in NHL history to record 1,110 career points.
-Murray became the 462nd player to score a regular seaosn goal for the franchise.
-According to HockeyFights.com, that was Morrow's sixth Gordie Howe Hat trick.
-While it was only three games, the Penguins swept a season series against the Canadiens for the first time in franchise history.
-Tyler Kennedy moved past Moe Mantha for 48th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list. Both players have 168 points but Kennedy (75 goals) has more goals than Mantha (38).