Assistant coach Rick Tocchet gives his three impressions from the bench of the Penguins’ 2-1 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens.
1. The penalty kill, Montreal was 0-for-4. Especially early, it kept us in the game when we had to kill a bunch of penalties. I thought the penalty kill was outstanding, including Fleury.
2. Good team defense, forwards and our defense together. We didn’t give them a ton of chances. We didn’t get a lot ourselves, but we didn’t give them a lot of chances.
3. The power play came through tonight. We’ve been waiting for that goal and for the power play to win us a game, and it did. Great goal by ‘Sid.’
Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box.
One area of the game that the Pens coaches were stressing to their team was guarding against Montreal’s transition game. Pittsburgh struggled in the first period and Montreal created several opportunities as a result, including the game’s opening goal off of a turnover. But in the last two-plus periods, the Pens did a much better job of containing the Habs' transition and speed and were able to successfully keep them off the board.
The Pens set the physical tone early. From the first shift, Robert Bortuzzo and David Perron finished hard checks. And that was only the beginning. The Habs couldn’t touch the puck without being punished for it. Pittsburgh outhit Montreal by count of 39-18, led by Craig Adams (7) and Perron (6). The Pens came to battle and the Habs paid the price for their indiscretions.
3. Power Play
The Pens’ power play finally came through, and in a big way. Sidney Crosby ended the game with a game-winning power-play overtime goal. Pittsburgh’s power play had a chance to end it in the third period on back-to-back penalties on the Habs (with nine seconds of a 5-on-3). The Pens came up short on those chances, but they got another opportunity in the extra session. The Pens were playing catch with the puck on a 4-on-3 (which became a 4-on-2 with a broken stick for the Habs) and Crosby buried a one-timer to end the game. The man-advantage has been struggling lately, but that’s the type of goal that can turn the tide.