PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Larry Robinson. Serge Savard. Doug Harvey. All were Hall
of Fame defensemen for the Montreal Canadiens, but none had a day like Sheldon
Souray did against Pittsburgh.
Souray set a Montreal single-game record for points by a defenseman with a
goal and five assists, and Canadiens rookie Michael Ryder had two goals and two
assists in an 8-0 rout of the Penguins on Saturday.
Souray broke the team record of five points by defensemen Harvey and Lyle
Odelein, assisting on each of Montreal's first five goals -- the first four on
the power play -- before scoring midway through the third period on a slap shot
from the left point off a faceoff.
Souray's five assists were one short of the Montreal record of six, set by
Elmer Lach in an 8-3 win over Boston on Feb. 6, 1943.
"When I scored a hat trick (Dec. 18 against Detroit), I said it was the
first time I did that since a father-son game -- and I don't remember having six
points in that game," said Souray, whose previous career highs were four
points and three assists. "This is probably the first time for me."
Montreal's power play, ranked ninth in the NHL, scored on four of five
opportunities in the first two periods to take control of what was a close game
for the first 25 minutes. Two goals game off rebounds of Souray shots, by
Richard Zednik and Ryder.
"Souray has a great shot and when he shoots the puck, it's so hard the
rebound's usually right there," said Ryder, who leads NHL rookies with 31
points on 11 goals and 20 assists. "I just went to the net and stood around
and the puck managed to bounce out and I whacked it in."
The Canadiens did that all afternoon against Sebastien Caron, who wasn't
lifted despite giving up eight goals on 34 shots. Ryder scored his 10th of the
season on the power play late in the first, then teamed with Souray to set up
Mike Ribeiro's ninth goal with Montreal on a 5-on-3 power play early in the
second resulting from penalties on Josef Melichar and Eric Meloche.
"We haven't been getting pucks through as much as we'd like, but we got
some shots on net and our forwards moved in front of the net and got some
rebounds," Souray said. "Some nights it just goes like that.'
The Penguins were never in the game after failing to convert their own
5-on-3 advantage later in the second period, with Montreal scoring two more
power-play goals -- by Zednik and Joe Juneau -- in the final nine minutes of the
Jose Theodore had an easy day in goal, bouncing back from a 4-1 loss
Thursday at home to Tampa Bay. He turned aside 25 shots in his fifth shutout of
the season and the 22nd of his career, moving him into seventh place in club
Ribeiro also had three assists in Montreal's third one-sided victory over
Pittsburgh in as many games this season; the Canadiens twice beat Pittsburgh
4-1 in Montreal. The Canadiens have eight power-play goals against Pittsburgh's
29th-ranked penalty-killing unit in the three games.
The Penguins have won only twice in 13 games (2-9-1-1). They have been
outscored 23-2 in losing their last four home games and 13-0 in their last two,
falling 5-0 Monday to Toronto. Saturday's loss was their second worst of the
season; they lost 9-0 to Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg on Nov. 8.
"It wasn't one thing, it was a lot of things," the Penguins' Mike Eastwood
said. "We weren't prepared to play the kind of game we needed to play."
Coach Eddie Olczyk was disappointed because the Penguins, last in the NHL's
overall standings, were coming off two of their better games, a 4-2 victory
Wednesday at defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey and a competitive 3-1
loss Thursday in Boston.
"I'm not going to say what I said (to the team)," Olczyk said. "I very
rarely refer to when I was a player, but I had a couple of games like this. It
hurts. You think about why it happens and (start) questioning yourself and