Rabid Habs

The Power Of Pittsburgh

Habs vs Pens

“There are going to be times when we’re a little bit tired, but it’s the same for the other teams so I don’t want to use that as an excuse.” – Lars Eller

It was a bitter minus nine in Montreal on Saturday night, but the cold didn’t stop Michel Therrien’s troops from getting prepared to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third time this season. A week ago, the Montreal Canadiens dominated the Pens in a four to one win at the CONSOL Energy Center and last night they were given the chance to have a second win over ‘Sid The Kid’ and his gang. This would be a great opportunity for the Habs to climb up to the top of the Atlantic Division and put the Penguins one spot behind them in the entire league (they currently sit at seventh place and the Pens at sixth). Even though they experienced a three to two overtime loss against the Boston Bruins last Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins would also be looking for a victory of their own by trying to surpass the New York Islanders, who held a one point lead in the Metropolitan Division. This would mean that the Pens would be doing anything and everything to try and take away any leads the Canadiens would have on the ice. If the Habs were able to stay in the same mindset that they were in the last time they faced the Penguins, the Canadiens would be able to prove to themselves again that they could face one of the top teams in the NHL despite taking a four to two loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning last Tuesday.

Despite the penalty killing and Penguins bringing on the pressure in the Canadiens zone, it was no match for Max Pacioretty (assisted by Andrei Markov) who put the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury and gave the hard working Habs their first goal of the night with one minute and 51 seconds left of the period. With beautiful saves by Carey Price and great defence, the Montreal Canadiens kept the lead until the clock ran out.

After a long 19 minute battle between the Penguins and the Habs, Evengi Malkin slipped one past Carey Price with only a minute and 32 seconds left (assisted by Simon Despres and Nick Spaling), bringing the score up one to one. The Canadiens were doing well for most of the period with excellent puck control and pressure on the forecheck but with the Penguins fighting for their first goal of the night, the Habs were bound to let one puck get past them. Despite the effort the Habs were putting in to take the lead again, there just wasn’t enough time to get a second goal and the second period ended with a tie.

The Canadiens had many chances to score on the Penguins net but Pittsburgh’s defence were on the Habs at all times, as were the Habs’ defencemen on the Penguins. Despite a great effort from both sides of the ice, the third period ended and the game went into overtime. With only a minute left, Sidney Crosby gave the Pittsburgh Penguins the one point they needed to win the game from a great feed that came from Evengi Malkin and the Montreal Canadiens left the Bell Centre with a one to two loss.

Here are my thoughts about last night’s game.

  • While it is slightly disappointing that the Montreal Canadiens didn’t win against the Penguins, I’m just happy that we didn’t have to experience another Crosby tantrum on the ice or on the bench. You’re in your mid 20’s dude, act like it!
  • Carey Price and Max Pacioretty were the highlights of the game. First you have Price, who throughout the game only had two goals slip past him. The entire game was him eyeing that puck everywhere it went. At least the 2015 NHL All Star game will have a champion like Price in the net. The man will always be as smooth as butter. Second you have Pacioretty, who despite only getting one goal for the whole game was still on a hot streak. Not only is Pacioretty good when it comes to getting pucks on net, but he’s an expert at passing as well. He is also great when it comes to the penalty kill. Basically, he’s a gem.
  • I didn’t see the point in having Christian Thomas on the ice tonight. No offence to Thomas of course, but I didn’t see him bring anything extraordinary to the ice. If anything, the Canadiens needed Manny Malhotra on the ice. Malhotra is the face off king and if he had been suited up tonight, the Habs would have never seen overtime.

The Montreal Canadiens play the Columbus Blue Jackets in Ohio on January 14th at 7:00pm.

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures.