|This game looked much like the first two matchups in 2009-10 between the Penguins and Canadiens. Right from the opening faceoff the Penguins dominated the action against Montreal, scoring the opening tally for the third time in three meetings. |
Unlike the previous two games the Canadiens did not fold as the Penguins took it to them, but instead rebounded to take a 2-1 lead midway through the second period. Just as they have all season, the Penguins did not blink and instead responded to score the final two goals of the game to record the 3-2 win as a couple role players – Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis – scored big tallies to get Pittsburgh an important two points.
|WHAT HAPPENED |
|MONTREAL (AP) – Pascal Dupuis scored on a slap shot 13:21 into the third period and Marc-Andre Fleury made 19 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins stopped Montreal's three-game winning streak with a 3-2 win over the Canadiens on Thursday night. |
Dupuis wound up from the top of the left circle and drove a high shot that struck goalie Carey Price's glove before going into the net.
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT |
The Penguins celebrate Matt Cooke's game-tying goal late in the second period
(photo by Getty)
|What Worked Well: Puck Possession |
The Penguins executed a near-perfect game plan against the Canadiens, possessing the puck for long periods of time in the Montreal zone and holding a dominating 41-21 advantage in shots. Only Carey Price kept this game from being a blowout in the Penguins favor.
What Could Have Gone Better: Power Play
A power play which went 0-for-5 on the night was the only thing that kept the Penguins from playing to perfection against the Canadiens. Montreal gave the Penguins not one, not two, but three cracks at the man-advantage in the third period with the game knotted, 2-2, but the Penguins came up empty on each occasion.
|He quietly goes about his business but make no mistake about it, Sergei Gonchar is a huge reason the Penguins have an NHL-best (tied) 21 victories. Montreal had been 11-1 when they scored first but Gonchar took that stat out of the equation by tallying the game’s opening goal at 6:38 of the first period when he cut down the left side and fired a one-timer past Carey Price. |
Gonchar later made a veteran move at the point to create a shooting lane for himself before firing a wrist shot towards the net which glanced off the stick of Matt Cooke past Price to tie the game, 2-2. Gonchar finished a plus-1 with four shots on goal in 25:26 of ice time.
|SCORING SYNOPSIS |
|Pascal Dupuis and Bill Guerin played catch behind the Canadiens net before Guerin walked out of the near corner and fed a perfect backhand pass right onto the tape of Sergei Gonchar. The Penguins defenseman fired a one-timer past Carey Price. Pittsburgh 1, Montreal 0. |
Glen Metropolit won a faceoff in the Pittsburgh zone following an icing call against the Penguins and it led to Matt D’Agostini unleashing a wrist shot from the top of the far circle over the blocker of Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh 1, Montreal 1.
Roman Hamrlik took a cross-ice feed from Mike Cammalleri and stepped into a slap shot which jumped over the glove of Fleury to give the Canadiens their first lead of the year against Pittsburgh. Montreal 2, Pittsburgh 1.
Jordan Staal walked out of the far corner and sent a pass to Gonchar at the right point. Gonchar created a lane for himself and threw a wrist shot towards the net which deflected off the stick of Matt Cooke in the slot and eluded Price. Pittsburgh 2, Montreal 2.
Jay McKee regrouped the puck to his partner, Brooks Oprik, who threw a long leap pass to Dupuis waiting at the Montreal blue line. Dupuis skated down the left wing and fired one of his patented slap shots off the glove of Price into the back of the cage. Pittsburgh 3, Montreal 2.
|INTRIGUING NOTABLES |
|The return of Alex Goligoski allowed head coach Dan Bylsma to return to the original defense pairings he used at the beginning of the season for the first time since Oct. 20 against the St. Louis Blues. The pairings included Brooks Orpik with Sergei Gonchar; Mark Eaton partnered with Kris Letang; and Jay McKee alongside Goligoski. |
Bylsma also elected to make changes to his forward units. Pascal Dupuis went from the left side next to Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko to the same spot on a trio which included Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin. Mike Rupp, who has already established a career high with nine goals, filled the spot Dupuis had been occupying. Max Talbot, who had been playing with Crosby and Guerin, took shifts with Craig Adams and Eric Godard.
The Penguins dodged a major bullet at 5:52 of the third period when the referees lost sight of a loose puck laying next to Marc-Andre Fleury and blew the whistle a fraction of a second before Scott Gomez jammed the puck into the cage behind Fleury for a score which would have tied the score, 3-3.
|GAME NOTES |
|> Pittsburgh improved to 21-10-1 on the season, tying them with the New Jersey Devils for the most wins in the National Hockey League. |
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, S. Gonchar (4), 6:38 1st period: Penguins 1, Canadiens 0
MON, M. D’Agostini (2), 10:48 2nd period: Penguins 1, Canadiens 1
MON, R. Hamrlik PP (5), 13:38 2nd period: Canadiens 2, Penguins 1
PIT, M. Cooke (6), 17:45 2nd period: Penguins 2, Canadiens 2
PIT, P. Dupuis (8), 13:21 3rd period: Penguins 3, Canadiens 2
> The Penguins have a record of 39-13-5 since head coach Dan Bylsma took over on Feb. 15 of last season. Pittsburgh is 18-7-4 on the road under Bylsma and 27-2-2 when they score the game’s first goal.
> Pittsburgh improves to 37-0-2 all-time under Bylsma when they score three or more goals. They are a perfect 21-0 in 2009-10 when they score at least three goals.
> The Penguins are now 5-0 this season when they register 40 or more shots in a game.
> Sergei Gonchar recorded his fourth multiple-point game of the season with his goal and an assist against the Canadiens. His assist on Matt Cooke’s goal was the 650th point of his career. For the season Gonchar’s 16 points (4G-12A) are tied with Alex Goligoski for most among Penguins defensemen.
> In front of several family and friends Pascal Dupuis registered his second multiple-point effort of the season with a goal and an assist. Dupuis had three points (1G-2A) in his past two games.
> Jordan Staal had another dominating effort against the Canadiens and picked up his 11th assist of the season. Staal has at least one point in 10 of his past 13 games, getting 12 points (4G-8A) in that time.
> Bill Guerin’s assist on Sergei Gonchar’s opening goal gives him points in seven of his past nine games. During that stretch he has seven points (2G-5A).
> Jay McKee’s assist on Pascal Dupuis’ goal was the 100th assist of his career.
> Eric Godard dressed for the 300th game of his NHL career.
|THREE STARS ||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT |
| || |
|1. S. Gonchar |
2. C. Price
3. P. Dupuis
|"It's always special to play in Montreal. We have |
five or six guys who have family and
friends around here."