Pittsburgh is now one win away from becoming the first Eastern Conference team since the 1990-92 Boston Bruins to advance to three straight Conference Finals after picking up a 2-1 victory in Game 5. Kris Letang
and Sergei Gonchar pick up the goals for Pittsburgh. Game 6 is slated for Monday night at 7 p.m. at Bell Centre. The Penguins will enter the contest holding a 3-2 series lead.
Montreal picks up a power-play goal as Gionta's shot from the slot is stopped by Fleury but then as a host of traffic comes into the crease the puck slips through. Penguins 2, Canadiens 1.
The Canadiens use their timeout as a little Stixx "Renegade" plays during the stoppage. Nothing gets the Pittsburgh crowd fired up like a little "Renegade."
Montreal receives a power play as Dupuis is sent to the box for slashing.
Staal tries working some one-on-one magic against a Montreal defender but right there was Halak to stick that shot away.
The Penguins are doing a great job of getting into shooting and passing lanes for the third consecutive game as they have really tightened up their defensive-zone coverage.
I don't think Halak even saw that turning backhander from Dupuis in the slot, but he still finds a way to make the save based upon solid positioning.
You just get that feeling Letestu is going to find the back of the twine soon. He just had his third or fourth great scoring chance of the night, missing the net barely on a shot from the left circle.
Fleury continues to earn his reputation as a money goaltender in the third period. He just kicked the right pad out to stop a one-timer off the stick of Marc-Andre Bergeron. That naturally illicits the "Fleury! Fleury! Fleury!" chant. The Penguins also kill off the Malkin penalty.
Montreal now has a shortened power play as they try to get into the game.
This power play will be an abbreviated one as Malkin is given a roughing penalty.
PK "We're going to win the Stanley Cup" Subban takes a delay of game penalty to put his team back on the penalty kill.
Crosby picks a Canadiens' pocket and tries sneaking a shot past the pads of Halak's along the ice but the Canadiens netminder gets a left toe on the shot.
Rupp feeds Letestu on a breakaway from the circles in but Halak stays with Letestu's move to the forehand, robbing him with a glove save. Letestu has been great all night for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh starts with the Staal unit as they hope to protect a 2-0 lead.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES:
- Hits are now 27-16 in favor of the Penguins.
- Jordan Staal
is 6-3 on faceoffs through two periods.
- Evgeni Malkin
has a team-high four shots.
The Penguins lead the Canadiens, 2-0, after two periods at Mellon Arena. They also possess a 19-18 shots advantage.
Montreal kills off the penalty to Moore.
Halak can't stop a dump-in by the Penguins and Kunitz gets a wide-open look from the bottom of the left circle but Halak made a good save to bail himself out.
It's back to the man-advantage for the Penguins as Dominic Moore trips Kris Letang
in the neutral zone to give the Penguins their second power play.
Fleury hasn't seen much action lately but he was up to the task on a Gionta shot from close range as he continues to pitch the shutout.
Mark Letestu's assist on Gonchar's goal was the first postseason point of his NHL career.
Salute the Sarge!!!! More great work by the Penguins below the goal line results in Letestu walking out of the near corner and feeding to Orpik at the left point. Orpik goes D-to-D to Gonchar, who rips a slap shot past Halak. Penguins 2, Canadiens 0.
Fleury continues to hold down the fort as he keeps his left pad tight to the post to step in front of Tomas Plekanec's turning backhander.
Fleury's save leads to a 2-on-1 break the other way for Malkin and Crosby. Malkin took the puck right to the net as Crosby attracted the defense, but Halak got his left pad on that shot to keep his team within one.
Glen Metropolit's shot from four feet away sneak under Fleury but he reaches back to swat the puck away before it crosses the line.
The Penguins are practicing what they preach in terms of getting more traffic on Halak. That time Mark Letestu was in his face as he made a save on Talbot from the left circle.
Andre Kostitsyn hobbles to the Montreal bench after Orpik steps up and gets a piece of him with an open-ice check.
Great defensive play by Letang as he slides baseball-style to prevent a centering pass from Gomez to Maxim Lapierre.
A couple big saves by Fleury on scrambles around the net and a good job of clearing loose pucks and boxing out by the Pittsburgh defense allows the Penguins to kill the Kunitz penalty.
No penalty was called against Subban as he interferred with Maxime Talbot at the Pittsburgh blue line. Penguins fans were not amused.
The Penguins start the second period having to kill off a two-minute cross-checking call against Kunitz.
FIRST PERIOD NOTES:
- Pittsburgh outhit the Canadiens, 16-8.
- Chris Kunitz
had a team-high four hits.
- Pittsburgh improved to 7 for 16 (43.8 percent) on the man-advantage in the series.
Easily the most vocal the Penguins' crowd has been this postseason as they serenade the team with "Let's Go Pens!" chants as they leave the ice. Pittsburgh holds a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes and outshoots the Canadiens, 9-6. Montreal will begin the second with the man-advantage as Kunitz is given a minor at the 20-minute mark.
0:13: Craig Adams
has the Igloo rocking as he stepped up and absolutely laid into Gorges, knocking him to the ice. What a finish the last three minutes of the period by the Penguins.
The Penguins came within an inch of making it 2-0 as Staal's cross-ice pass to Cooke at the doorstep just jumped over Cooke's blade.
The Penguins strike first! Malkin picks up a loose puck behind the net, circles around to the far side and sends a puck to Letang at the left point. Letang one-time a shot past the stick of Halak. Penguins 1, Canadiens 0.
Gorges is in the box for cross-checking, putting Pittsburgh on the first power play of the evening.
Malkin set up Dupuis for a one-timer at the top of the right circle and the speedy winger came within inches of opening the scoring as his shot just sailed wide.
For the second-straight shift Bylsma has Crosby and Malkin together with Pascal Dupuis
Josh Gorges' wrist shot from the right point deflected off a stick in front but yet again here in the first Fleury was up to that challenge. The 25-year-old netminder looks solid in net.
The Penguins had to withstand some pressure here from the Canadiens, who have picked up four of the last five shots in the game. Fleury was there on every occasion as the last line of defense.
Fleury proves he's in the game as Tom Pyatt gets a step on the Penguins defense following a communication miscue but Fleury flashes his right pad to say 'NO!'
Cooke and Kennedy crash the net and run into Halak. That's what the Penguins have to do - make life miserable on the Montreal netminder.
That's now two consecutive good shifts by the fourth line as Mike Rupp dangles with the puck a la Crosby in the right corner. The Penguins are firing at all cylinders.
15:15: Brooks Orpik
fires up the crowd by drilling Brian Gionta to the ice in the far corner of the Penguins zone.
Shots are now 5-1 in favor of the Penguins as they continue to keep the puck trapped in the Montreal zone. On that last shift Halak robbed Mark Letestu from point-blank range.
Halak is hunched over after getting stunned by a Sergei Gonchar shot, but he will stay in the game after a quick breather.
18:14: Evgeni Malkin
picks up Pittsburgh's first shot on a slap shot from the top of the circles. Jaroslav Halak cradles that shot in his stomach.
The Jordan Staal
unit comes out and sets a positive tone for the game by hemming the Canadiens in their own zone.
It's now a best-of-three. The battle to take control begins right now!
STAT OF THE NIGHT:
The Penguins have a 12-6 all-time record at Mellon Arena in Game 5s. Let's make it lucky No. 13!
Penguins fans are already into this contest as they have broken out into a "Go Home Habs!" chant. The crowd also just went crazy when Jordan Staal
was shown up on the video screen as part of the pre-game intro.
The Penguins are making a couple of lineup changes for tonight's contest. Bill Guerin and Mike Rupp are back in while veterans Ruslan Fedotenko and Alexei Ponikarovsky are out. Guerin missed Games 3 and 4 while Rupp was absent for Game 4.
This Eastern Conference showdown between the Penguins and Montreal Canadiens has been reduced to a best-of-three affair after the two teams split the first four contests. Pittsburgh hopes to re-establish home-ice supremacy tonight in Game 5. The Penguins' efforts will be aided by the return of veteran Bill Guerin to the lineup. Guerin had missed Games 3 and 4 with an undisclosed injury.
Author: Jason Seidling