-A matchup in tonight's game which might be more attention north of the boarder than on our side of the 49th parallel will be in net. Carey Price and Marc-Andre Fleury. They are candidates to make Team Canada for the upcoming Olympic games in Sochi.
-While Fleury did not attend Team Canada's orientation camp in August, he has been of the NHL's best goaltenders. Compare his basic statistics to the five goaltenders who did attend:
|Corey Crawford, Blackhawks
|Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins
|Braden Holtby, Capitals
|Roberto Luongo, Canucks
|Carey Price, Canadiens
|Mike Smith, Coyotes
-Fleury's numbers, which are never the best barometer for goaltenders, are just as good or better than all five of those players.
-If Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman is picking goaltenders based on reputation and past results, Fleury isn't going to Sochi. If Yzerman is picking based on current results, Fleury has to be seriously considered.
-We have a feeling that if Fleury was not invited to go to Sochi he wouldn't be terrible upset. He already has a gold medal from the 2010 Games in Vancouver. While he was a third-stringer in those games and didn't play, that basic desire to get a gold medal isn't there. If he is invited, he would certainly go but it's not go crush him if he gets two weeks off.
-Penguins management probably wouldn't mind if he wasn't invited either. Given the health of regular back up Tomas Vokoun, the Penguins probably would like to see him get a little bit of rest in the middle of the season.
-Former Penguins goaltending coach Gilles Meloche felt the 2010 Games had a role in Fleury's troubles down the stretch in the 2009-10 season.
-Dan Bylsma had some pretty high praise for Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk, a candidate for Team USA:
-Translation: "Bylsma on Galchenyuk: "The draft day, I told him I was disappointed that he did not become a Penguin that day."
-The Penguins' starters Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Robert Bortuzzo returns to the lineup. Their scratches are Beau Bennett and Deryk Engelland.
-The Canadiens starters are Daniel Briere, Brian Gionta, Tomas Plekanec, Alexei Emelin, Josh Gorges and Carey Price.
-Their scratches are Rene Bourque, former Penguin Douglas Murray, and Washington, Pa. native George Parros.
19:21: Dupuis whips a wrister from the left wing. Price snags it.
18:46: Maatta snaps off a wrister from teh right half wall. It hits a stick and skips wide to the far side.
17:02: Crosby tries to deke around big Alexei Emelin in the Montreal slot. Emelin just tries to cross check him and clips him in the face with his stick. That's two minutes for high sticking. Crosby, Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Martin take the ice.
16:35: Malkin whacks a lose puck fom aboe the
16:22: Neal blasts a quick one-timer from the left circle wide of the net.
16:14: Malkin grips and rips a wrister from the right point. It hits a stick and hops to Price who eats it up.
16:04: Malkin sets up Letang for a big one-timer in the left circle but Letang fans on the shot.
15:57: Off a short-handed faceoff win in the Penguins' zone, Andrei Markov hammers a slapper from the left point wide to the far side.
14:53: As Emelin's minor expires, Letang gains the offensive zone on a rush up the left wing and flings a wrister on net. Price eats it up.
13:50: Battling for a puck in the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone, Briere kicks out the skate of Maatta and trips him. That's two minutes.
13:30: Kunitz tries to jam in a loose puck from near the cage with a backhander. Price holds it out.
12:21: Collecting a deflected puck in the slot, Malkin sails a wrister wide to the left of the cage.
11:37: As the Briere minor expires, Ryan White leas a two-on-one up the left wing with Travis against Matt Niskanen. White take the shot and Fleury snags it with a glove hand.
11:33: Off an offenvie zone facoeff win, Subban whips a quick wrister which is deflected juuuust wide.
9:42: Plekanec races up the right wing, gets a step on Brooks Orpik and flings a backhander from a bad angle on net. Fleury kicks it away.
8:08: Matta chops a shot/pass from the left point to Matt D'Agostini above the right circle. From the slot, D'Agostini flings a backhander wide.
7:03: Martin controls a puck at the right point and and fires a slapper off the end boards on the near side. Crosby collects the bank off the boards and tries to jab in the rebound. Price hugs the near post and holds it out.
6:51: Crosby steals a puck from Gorges in the right wing corner and flicks a backhander to Dupuis above the blue paint. Dupuis has two chances in tight but can't beat Price.
6:32: Malkin hustles up the right wing and flings a feed to the slot for Neal. Neal has a look at the cage but Subban lifts his stick and breaks up the play. What a nice subtle effort by Subban.
5:42: Michael Bournival outworks Bortuzzo for a puck behind the Penguins net and deals a pass to White in the right circle. White blasts a one-timer which Fleury knocks down and smothers. Great effort by Bournival (5-foot-11, 196 pounds) against a much larger Bortuzzo (6-foot-4, 215 pounds).
5:24: Off a cross-ice feed by Brian Gibbons from the left wing corner, Borus lifts a wrister from above the right circle. Price snags it. Bortuzzo crashes in and disrupts Price a bit. A scrum ensues. Nothing comes of it.
4:56: Emelin sails a wrister from the right point. Fleury snags it despite traffic.
4:26: Plekanec whacks a loose puck from the slot wide of teh cage.
3:30: Gorges whacks a heavy slapper from above the left circle. Fleury deflects it out of play.
3:22: Off a feed by Gorges, Emelin booms a one-timer from the right point. Fleury punches it away with his blocker.
2:31: Neal, on with Sutter and Gibbons, tries to rush in off the right wing and jam in a forehand shot. No dice.
2:05: A loose puck slides to the center point. Raphael Diaz booms a one-timer which hits a body and deflects away.
1:20: Brian Gionta races after a puck in the right wing corner and is pinched off by Orpik who shoves him into the boards.
0:42: Plekanec hustles into the offensive zone. He gets a step on Martin in the left circle and lifts a wrister which Fleury stops. Fleury has a little trouble with the rebound which sits loose the blue paint. Orpik is Johnny On The Spot and whips it out of dangers.
0:00: End of period. Canadiens 0, Penguins 0.
-That was a pretty entertaining period of hockey. There was plenty of skating, plenty of shots, a few hits and plenty of strong goaltending. The only thing missing were some goals.
-Both goaltenders were sharp. The Penguins peppered Price with a lot shots in tight and he turned everything away. The Canadiens tried to generate offense primarily from the perimeter. Fleury located everything and kept it out of the net.
-The Penguins controlled the first 12 minutes or so of play while the Canadiens were the strong team late in teh period.
-The Penguins' power play, which has been hot as of late, looked pretty cold on it's two chances. The Penguins just couldn't pass the puck as well as they have in recent games.
-Shots on net are even, 12-12.
-The Penguins have a 23-22 edge in attempted shots.
-Dupuis leads the game with three shots.
-Plekanec and White each lead the Canadiens with two shots.
-Martin leads the game with 9:23 of ice time.
-Gorges leads the Canadiens with 8:08.
-The Canadiens have a 12-9 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Sutter is 4 for 5 (80 pecent).
-Plekanec is 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-Markov leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Kunitz leads the Penguins with two blocked shots.
-The best part of his Pure Hockey commercial is that Pascal Dupuis was reading the Post-Gazette:
18:33: Letang is deep in the left wing corner and deals a pass to Malkin in the left circle. Malkin whacks a quick one-timer on net. Price eats it up.
18:07: A rookie mistake leads to a Montreal goal. Maatta controls the puck in the Penguins' zone and tries so tns off a pass to Neal at the red line. Max Pacioretty reads the play all the way, steals the puck, walks in to the offensive zone. From above the left circle, Pacioretty releases a lethal wrister which rings off the far post and into the cage. Oof. That w a bad play by Maatta. Fleury was simply toasted on that shot. The goal is unassisted. Canadiens 1-0.
17:55: Off the ensuing faceoff, Sutter lifts a wrister from the right wing on net. Price knocks it dead and covers.
17:51: Off a faceoff win in the Canadiens' right circle by Sutter, Niskanen strikes a one-time from the right point. Price kicks it away.
17:14: The great Joe Vitale hustles up the left wing and lifts a wrister on net. Price battles it away.
17:05: Tanner Glass chucks a wrister from above the left circle. Price says no.
16:31: Subban chops a shot/pass from the right point. Briere is streaking down the slot and re-directs it over the net.
15:57: Plenake wires a slapper from the left point. Fleury punches it away.
15:53: Orpik smacks Gionta into the left wing corner boards of the Penguins' zone while battling for the puck. Gionta is slow to recover to his skate. He is later shown on the bench being examined by an athletic trainer. A replay showed Orpik jabbing Gionta int the ribs iwh a bit of a crosshc eck.
15:13: The Penguins generate a strong shift in the offensive zone. Off a faceoff win in the left circle by Malkin, the Penguins have a handful of shots blocked. Eventually, Matta deals a pass from the right point to Letang in the left circle. Letang moves in a bit and lifts a wrister which Price fights off. Maatta collects the rebound above the left circle and lifts a wrister to the far side which Malkin appears to deflect wide.
14:03: Niskanen booms a one from the right point which is blocked by the stick of Brendan Gallagher.
13:56: Niskanen gets another one-tier from the left point. Price knocks it down and covers.
13:36: Gionta has a chance in the tight off a feed by Briere but Fleury shuts the door.
13:30: Battling for position in front of Fleury, Niskanen shoves Gionta by his face to the ice. Orpik, Sutter, Martin and Craig Adams take the ice.
12:30: Markov unleashes a cannon of a one-timer for above the right circle. Fleury punches it out of play with his blocker.
11:33: As the Niskanen minor is about to expire, Francis Bouillon flings a wrister from the center point which sails through traffic and clanks off the left post.
10:47: During a bad line change by the Canadiens, Crosby deals a wrister from the left wing wall of the neutral zone to D'Agostini at the Montreal blue line, D'Agostini has a pseudo breakaway. As he approaches the hash marks, he lifts a wrister well high of the cage. What a bad shot.
8:50: Bortuzzo and Matta are teamed together on a defensive pairing.
8:38: Another power play for the Canadiens. Brandon Sutter is nabbed for high sticking Briere on the left wing wall of the Penguins' zone. Sutter gives Briere some grief afterwards, apparently feeling Briere embellished the contact. Dupuis, Orpik, Martin and Adams take the ice.
7:59: Plekanec cranks a one-timer from the right circle over the cage.
7:08: Subban booms a one-timer from the left point. Glass leans down to block it and is hobbled a bit.
7:01: Subban fires another shot from the left point wide of hte cage.
6:53: Subban cranks yet another one-timer form the left point. Glass blocks it again.
6:39: Gallagher settles a loose puck int he slot nd jabs a backhander on net. Fleury holds it out. a scrum ensues. Gibbons is called for hooking. The Canadiens call a time out to get organized. They will have a two-man advantage for two seconds. Glass is shown on the bench in some discomfort. Crosby, Orpik and Martin take the ice.
6:31: Markov whips a quick wrister from the right half wall. Fleury fights it off.
5:47: Subban chops a slapper from the right point. Adams blocks it.
5:43: Subban snaps off a wrister from the center point on net. Fleury snags it despite traffic. Orpik and Fleury give each give some grief to Gallagher afterwards.
5:17: Off some strong puck movement on the perimeter, Diaz strikes a one-timer on net from above the left circle. Fleury fights it off
5:13: Markov booms a one-timer from the right point. Fleury fights it off.
5:01: Eller sweeps a onet0imer from the right circle which is partially blocked by Adams.
4:49: Subban whips a wrister from the high slot. Fleury kicks it out despite traffic. The Penguins are able to clear it out of danger.
4:39: The Gibbons minor is killed. What an effort by Fleury to prevent a goal on those power plays.
3:59: Maatta booms a one-timer from the right point. Price kicks it out. There's a fat rebound for Neal in the left circle. He has an open net but Emelin reaches down with a poke check and prevents a shot. Huge play by Emelin.
2:17: Bouillon flings a wrister from the left point. Bortuzzo blocks it.
1:46: Jokinen roams up the left wing one-on-one with Dias. He lifts a wrister which Diaz blocks. Jokinen recovers the rebound and flings a wrister wide to the far side.
1:04: After Price fumbles a puck behind his own net, D'Agostini recovers it in Montreal's right wing corner and flings a feed to the slot for Price. Price reaches out with a poke check and breaks up the pass.
0:46: Off a feed by Letang, Maatta booms a one-timer which is eaten up by Price.
0:00: End of period. Play ends with Kunitz and Gallagher in the middle of a scrum. Officials break it up. Canadiens 1, Penguins 0.
-The second period was similar to the first in that each team had a fair amount of scoring chances. The only difference was that the Canadiens cashed one in.
-Even if you discount the two power plays, the Canadiens had a slight advantage in puck control that period. It seemed like the puck was in the Penguins' zone most of the period.
-Carey Price is tuned in. The Penguins are going to have to earn a goal on him tonight.
-The Canadiens continue to try and generate chances from the perimeter. The Penguins are doing a good job at giving Fleury lanes to see the puck.
-An underrated part of the Penguins' success the past week has been their penalty kill. It has now killed off the last 18 power plays it has faced.
-The Canadiens have a 23-20 lead in shots on net.
-The Canadiens have a 50-42 lead in attempted shots.
-Dupuis, Gallagher, Plekanec and Markov each lead the game with three shots.
-Subban leads the game with 17:38 of ice time.
-Martin leads the Penguins with 16:42.
-The Penguins have a 22-18 lead in faceoffs (55 pecent).
-Plekanec is 10 for 13 (77 percent).
-Sutter is 8 for 12 (67 percent).
-Orpik leads the game with four blocked shots.
-Gorges, Diaz and Markov each lead the Canadiens with three blocked shots.
20:00: The period will begin with four-on-four play on fresh ice. Kunitz and Gallagher were each given roughing minors at the end of the second period.
19:21: Pacioretty gets a chance off the right wing and rips a wrister wide to the far side.
19:04: Subban flings a wrister from the. right point. Fleury fights if off.
18:55: The Canadiens dominate puck possession to start the period and take a two-goal lead. Subban (6-foot-0, 217 pounds) uses his size to fend the puck from Gibbons (5-foot-8, 170 pounds) and deals to Markov on the left half wall. Markov draws in Crosby and creates some space in the left circle. He deals a pass to Plekanec who snaps off a wrister through Fleury's five hole. There appeared to be a screen by Orpik on that play. Either way, it was a preventable goal. Markov and Subban get assists. Canadiens 2-0.
17:35: The roof starts to cave in. Malkin fumbles a puck outside his blue line. Pacioretty picks it up, gains the offensive zone on the right wing, fends off a check fom Letang and snaps off a wrister through the five hole of Fleury. That was a poor goal for Fleury to allow. Diaz gets the only assist. Canadiens 3-0.
16:20: Canadiens fans begin their signature "Ole, Ole, Ole" chants.
15:48: Crosby jabs a quick little wrister from teh right circle. Price holds it out.
15:30: The Penguins get another power play as Gionta is called for hooking Dupuis in the slot. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz and Martin take the ice take the ice.
14:56: A one-time by Neal in the right circle is blocked by Gorges.
14:28: Malkin guides a wrister from the center point wide to the left of the net.
14:32: Crosby releases a one-timer form the right circle. Price fights it off.
14:16: The Penguins' power play keeps them alive. Off some strong perimeter passing, Malkin deals a pass from the center point to Neal's wheelhouse in the right circle. The puck launches off Neal's sick and blows by Price's glove hand on the near side. What a release by Neal. It gives the Penguins some hope. Malkin and Martin get assists. Canadiens 3-1.
12:58: Off some strong work down low, Desharnais tries to jam in a forehand shot from the left of the cage. Fleury holds it out.
10:14: Off a rush towards the Penguins' cage by Pacioretty, Desharnais and Gallagher each have chances in tight but can't beat Fleury.
8:54: Gionta zips a pass from the left wing to the slot for Moen. The pass fails to connect and Moen crashes into Fleury. No call.
8:33: Sutter is on with Malkin and Neal. Malkin hustles up the left wing, gains the offensive zone and deals a cross ice pass to neal above the right circle. Neal leans down and releases a one-timer which Price boots out.
8:08: Off a feed by Sutter, Maatta cranks a one-timer from the left point which Price fights off.
7:22: Eller has a chance in tight but Fleury hugs the right post and prevents his shot.
6:31: Off a drop pass and criss-cross with Jokinen, Crosby lifts a wrister from the slot. Price punches it away.
4:11: Off a feed by Crosby, Niskanen booms a one-timer from the right point wide of the cage.
3:29: Desharnais races up the right wing with the puck on his backhand. Maatta is able to knock it off his stick.
2:52: Malkin simply decides to create a goal. Collectin a puck in his won zone, he retreat behind his own net, picks up speed and carries it through his own zone. He dekes by Briere, gets past his blue line, enters the neutral zone and motors by Bournival. He gains the offensive zone and splits Diaz and Bouillon. He loses an edge in the right circle but still manages to deal a pass to Neal charging in from the right left wing. Neal is able to pus ht epuck from his forehand to his backhand and taps the puck by Price's left skate and into the net. As Neal celerate, Malkin crashes into the end boards with his lower back and is down in discomfort. Ouch. Athletic trainer Chris Stewart rushes out to attend to him. He eventually recovers to his skates and heads to the bench. What a determined effort by Malkin. He gets the only assist. Canadiens 3-2.
1:59: Malkin tries to jam in a forehand wrapround from the righ tof hte cage. Price hold ti out.
1:44: Neal booms a one-time from the center point. Price says no. Jokinen can't clean up the rebound.
0:58: Fleury is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:50: After the Canadiens ice the puck, the Penguins call a timeout to get organized.
0:12: Malkin as a wrister from the high slot blocked in front.
0:09: Game. Set. Match. Neal is called for hooking Markov in the Canadiens' left circle. Markov didn't exactly provide much resistance on the play. Sutter, Martin, Dupuis and Orpik take the ice. Fleury returns to the net with the faceoff in his own zone.
0:00: End of game. Canadiens 3, Penguins 2.
-First things first. Tanner Glass suffered an "upper-body" injury during the second period and did not record a shift after the final 6:39 of the second period. Presumably, he was dinged up after blocking a few point shots by PK Subban.
-This was a "one more" game. In other words, Carey Price made one more save than Marc-Andre Fleury and came away with a win. If Fleury makes a save on even one of the goals he allowed early in the third period, this game could have taken a different course. Price didn't necessarily steal any goals but he made saves on just about every manageable shot by the Penguins and earned a win.
-While the power play did come through with a nice goal in the third period, where was it in the first period? A goal on either or both of those chances the Penguins' power play had in the first period could have really changed this game. Instead, it's failure put the Penguins in a position to face a deficit.
-Matchups were an issue for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby saw 19 faceoffs against Tomas Plekanec. 19! He also saw plenty of shifts against PK Subban. It was not easy night for Crosby in that regard.
-Malkin carried the offense once again. His two assists were really pretty. His first, on a power-play, was a perfect pass which allowed James Neal to uncork a wicked one-timer. The second assist was just a dominant individual play. The way he weaved through four defenders was spectacular. He failed to score a goal once again but he is still carrying the offense.
-The Penguins' penalty kill wasn't a problem tonight. In fact, it's been an underrated but big part of the team's success the past week or so. The Penguins have killed off the past 18 penalty kills they have faced.
-Olli Maatta had a killer mistake tonight which led the first Canadiens goal. Slowly, he's started to allow a few mistakes to creep into this game. We're not sure if the fatigue of his first professional season is stating to impact his game, but he's not as smooth as he was the first 10 games of the season. That said, he's still one of the Penguins' top five defensemen - accounting for Rob Scuderi's current absence.
-The Penguins' third line came through with another ineffective game. The Penguins need more from that group.
-It's popular (and accurate) to say Subban's quasi-legal antics were a reason Crosby was bottled up tonight. But don't over look the fact that Subban is also a pretty darn good defender. He only won the Norris Trophy last season.
-Max Pacioretty has had a pretty quiet season. Before tonight, he only had seven points in 14 games. Tonight, he blew up for two impressive goals. If he was on the bubble to make Team USA's roster before tonight, you have to imagine he made an impression in front of Dan Bylsma tonight.
-The Penguins did quite a bit to generate chances in tight. A number of their shots came from within 20 feet of the cage. Price was just really tuned in.
-The Penguins had a 31-29 lead in shots on net.
The Canadiens had a 65-64 edge in attempted shots.
-James Neal led the game with seven shots.
-Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec each led the Canadiens with four shots.
-Subban led the game with 25:20 of ice time.
-Paul Martin led the Penguins with 24:40 of ice time.
-The Canadiens dominated faceoffs, 39-23 (63 percent).
-Plekanec was 16 for 21 (76 percent).
-Malkin was 6 for 10 (60 percent).
-Brooks Orpik led the game with five blocked shots.
-Josh Gorges led the Canadiens with four blocked shots.
-Neal moved past Dave Burrows for 64th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list. Both players have 132 points but Neal (66) has more goals than Burrows (24).
-We missed this when it happened but Paul Martin is now among the top 100 scorers in franchise history. He sits in 99th place with