pittsburgh feb 27 IIAfter scoring the opening goal of the game, the Canadiens were forced to come from behind four times before they could beat the Penguins 6-5 in a shootout in Pittsburgh Thursday night. David Desharnais scored the only goal of the shootout while Peter Budaj was shutting the door at his end of the ice. Daniel Briere led the Canadiens with two goals and an assist. Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty and Alexei Emelin also scored for the Habs. For Pittsburgh it was James Neal, Deryk Engelland, Olli Maatta, Brandon Sutter and Sidney Crosby. Pittsburgh outshot the Canadiens 32-29. In the overtime the shots on goal were 5-0 for the Canadiens. In Pittsburgh the announced three stars were Briere, Desharnais and James Neal of the Penguins.

Adding It Up –

Go Figure – Wednesday night against the Red Wings could hardly get out of their own way and managed only one goal. Twenty four hours later, the second of back-to-back and they come up with five goals on 24 shots through regulation time then completely dominate the overtime before winning the shootout. .

The Ebb and the Flow – Brendan Gallagher scored the game’s first goal but before first period was over Peter Budaj, who was playing in back to back games for the first time in almost two years, let in a couple of soft ones taking the wind out the Habs sails. But they regrouped in the second period and the teams exchanged goals seven times over forty minutes.

Fourth Liners – The Canadiens appeared off their game by the end of the first period but found life when the Briere/Parros/Moen tied the game early in the second period. It was a goalscorer’s goal with Briere getting the puck in front of the net with time to step back and then hit the top corner behind Fleury. While logging less than ten minutes each in the game, the line was plus-4. For Briere, two goals including the one that eventually sent the game into overtime with under six minutes remaining.

The Shooter – No secret about the Canadiens game plan. Simply get the puck to Max Pacioretty. David Desharnais clearly knows the drill. By game’s end Pacioretty had the puck enough to take twelve shots, six of them on goal and his power play goal tied the game at 3-3 less than a minute after Pittsburgh had taken the lead.

The Hangover – P.K. Subban has had a rough post-Olympic ride.  In the Detroit game he took a bad offensive zone roughing penalty and was sitting when the Wings scored their first goal and he was on the ice for their overtime goal. Against Pittsburgh he was on the ice for both goals as the Penguins took the lead after being down 1-0.  And then with the Canadiens on a power play in the 8th minute of the third period, Subban overhandled the puck and was stripped by Brandon Sutter scored shorthanded to take a 4-3 lead.  Outside of a brief appearance in a late power play, Subban was nailed to the bench by an clearly angered Michel Therrien.

A Hard Look– Jarred Tinordi played his second game on his most recent call up and his coach obviously is liking what he sees. Tinordi started the game with Douglas Murray but was moved up and down the defense pairings, playing at times with Subban and Markov. Twenty-three shifts and 16:01 ice time including 2:15 as a penalty killer and never in trouble.

The Horse – Douglas Murray seems to be whipping boy for a segment of fans and media in Montrreal but Penguins forwards knew every time he was on the ice. Murray was asked to kill off 5:23 of the 9:09 power play minutes the Penguins were given. Pittsburgh scored twice and Murray was not on the ice for either goal and when he was out there, he owned the boards.  

The Specialist – The Canadiens have been involved in seven shootouts this season. Oddly, Michel Therrien didn’t schedule David Desharnais in the first two. Since then he has scored on four of his five. Three of the four have been game winners including twice against Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins.  

The Setup – Three points out of possible four in the first two games back from the Olympic breaks combined with Toronto’s overtime loss at Long Island leaves the Canadiens two points ahead of the Leafs and in second place in the Atlantic Division. Toronto vs. Montreal at the Bell Centre Saturday night. And then the Canadiens head west for games in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix and San Jose next week.