The city of Pittsburgh celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, but the Penguins couldn’t quite find a way to catch any of that luck of the Irish against the Montreal Canadiens, ultimately falling, 3-0, at CONSOL Energy Center.
Just seconds after Dustin Jeffrey rang a shot off the post, the Canadiens grabbed the opening goal off a faceoff win just 46 seconds into the game. After that, Pittsburgh put the pressure on, throwing pucks at Montreal goalie Carey Price from every which way. But the Penguins just couldn’t crack Price.
On a day when many fans were wearing green, Marc-Andre Fleury was seeing lots of red, as the Canadiens threw 12 pucks his way through the first period and the early-goings of the second. Montreal capitalized on three of those shots to give the Canadiens the 3-0 lead early in the second frame.
Brent Johnson entered the game in an attempt to provide a spark to the Penguins’ bench, and Maxime Talbot dropped the gloves with Paul Mara to get the team and the crowd fired up. But the Canadiens held the fort and prohibited the Penguins from mounting a comeback.
The Penguins are widely recognized for being a deep team. Despite losing 265 man-games to injury, the team is still near the top of the standings. But Saturday’s game was all about an impact player that’s not on the roster – the Penguins’ seventh man, the fans.
With 18,310 fans in attendance, Pittsburgh celebrated its 200th consecutive sellout, dating back to a thrilling 5-4 shootout win against Chicago on Feb. 14, 2007 at Mellon Arena. Since then, the Penguins have made two Stanley Cup Finals appearances and opened a new arena, all while selling out every single game.
“They’ve been behind us for a long time now, and there’s no better feeling than skating out on the ice with a solid crowd and having that seventh man out on the ice with you,” Jordan Staal said.
Throughout the sellout streak, 3,456,219 fans have watched the Penguins play in Pittsburgh.
On the first shift of the game, Matt Cooke fed a pass to a breaking Dustin Jeffrey, who sped down the left side of the ice. Jeffrey’s shot beat Carey Price, but it clanked off the crossbar. Just seconds later, Montreal took advantage of their good luck.
Less than a minute after the opening faceoff, Tomas Plekanec powered forward on a faceoff win and punched the puck past Fleury to give Montreal the early lead. The Penguins put pressure on Carey Price for the rest of the game, but the Canadiens refused to give up the lead.
Tomas Plekanec and Travis Moen scored early in the first and second periods, and the Canadiens' Carey Price made 26 saves to blank the Penguins 3-0 Saturday.
Price notched his eighth shutout and now has allowed seven goals in starting the past six games.
- With a standing-room only sellout crowd of 18,310, the Penguins celebrated their 200th straight sellout, dating back to the team’s Feb. 14, 2007 game against Chicago at Mellon Arena. Through those 200 games, the Penguins have a 123-58-19 record, including a 104-48 regular-season record. The largest crowd during the streak was Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Buffalo, when 18,342 fans packed CONSOL Energy Center.
- Over the past five games, the Penguins have killed off 11 of 12 penalties (91.6 percent). The Penguins’ PK ranks first in the NHL, as it’s clicking at a rate of 86.8 percent on the season.
- The Penguins wore their dark blue alternate Jerseys for the third time this season. The Penguins now have a 1-2 record in those sweaters – they beat Los Angeles, 2-1, in overtime, and fell to Washington, 3-1, in the new jerseys. Overall this season, the Penguins are 8-4 when they wear blue jerseys.
- Saturday’s game was the first of the Penguins’ 15th set of back-to-back games. Pittsburgh has a 17-8-4 record in those contests, including an 8-5-2 record in the front end of those games. After Sunday’s game against Edmonton, just two more sets of back-to-back games remain on the schedule, including games against the New York Rangers and at Detroit on March 20 and 21, and a date at Philadelphia and a home contest against New Jersey on March 24 and 25.
#1. Carey Price
Goaltender - 31
8th shutout of season
#2. Michael Cammalleri
Left Wing - 13
#3. Tomas Plekanec
Center - 14
Author: Tony Jovenitti