MONTREAL – There was nothing lucky about Benoit Pouliot’s shootout winner on Thursday night.
After scoring the game-tying goal in the second period to draw the Canadiens and Penguins even at one apiece, Pouliot one-upped himself 30 minutes later with a beauty shootout-winner. Watching from the bench as Michael Cammalleri, P.K. Subban
, Brian Gionta
and Andrei Kostitsyn were all turned away by Pittsburgh netminder Brent Johnson, Pouliot channeled his inner Peter Forsberg to clinch a big two points for the Habs.
“I was on the bench and I said to Davey and Darchey if I go, I’m going to try that move and see how it works. It worked out pretty well,” laughed Pouliot, who faked Johnson to his forehand before gingerly depositing it over the goal line with his backhand. “You just try to go slow and see if you can get the goalie to move towards you.
“The long reach makes it a little easier for me. I think the last time I used that move was in Juniors and it worked out pretty well for me then,” added Pouliot, whose two-goal night earned him first star honors. “You never know what’s going to happen, but I’m just happy we got the win.”
While it was the first time Pouliot had attempted the maneuver in the NHL, it’s already a move Montreal goaltender Carey Price
has seen more than enough of from the 6-foot-3 winger.
“He’s pulled it off a couple of times on me, too,” admitted Price, who stopped all five Pittsburgh shooters to seal the deal. “It’s a pretty good move because once you get off your edges it’s pretty tough to get back across, especially with a reach like Benny’s.
“But we’ve practiced that maybe only three times this year, I think,” explained the Habs’ netminder, who enjoyed his first shootout of the season on Thursday night. “Usually we do it at the end of practice and the ice is terrible, but what can you do? You don’t really want to do breakaways on the first drill of practice.”
There may still be doubters thinking Pouliot’s winner was just a lucky shot, but linemate Mathieu Darche
isn’t one of them.
“Benny told us before he went on the ice that he was going to try that move,” confirmed Darche with a laugh. “I asked him if he was good at shootouts and he just said, ‘I’m alright, I guess. If I go, I’m going to try the one-hander.’ And that’s exactly what he did – you have to give him props for that.”Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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