1 pens malkin subbanThe Pittsburgh Penguins came back from a second period in which they were outshot 13-1 to pour seventeen third period shots on Mike Condon to tie the game and then win the game in the shootout. The Penguins took a 2-1 lead in the first period on goals by Pascal Dupuis and Olli Maatta. Andrei Markov had scored on a power play. In the second period Brendan Gallagher and Brian Flynn scored to make it 3-2 but the Canadiens faded in the third period and Patric Hornqvist sent it to overtime and ultimately the shootout.  David Perron and Crosby scored in the shootout for the 4-3 victory.

Shots on goal in the game favoured the Canadiens 38-34. The announced three stars in Pittsburgh were Crosby, Hornqvist and P.K. Subban who added two more assists to his total.

Adding It Up –

Off the Hook – The Canadiens let the Penguins get away from them. From the 3 minute mark of the first period to the end of the second period -37 minutes they held total domination over the Penguins; outshooting them 23-9. But early in third period it was clear they had forgotten what got them there. They gave up their own blueline and the Penguins were happy to take advantage. Shots were 17-10 for the Penguins in the third and Hornqvist scored to tie it.

The Rookie – First time in Mike Condon‘s very brief eight game NHL career that Condon has given up three goals. Two of the three goals against him were deflected off legs. Otherwise another solid effort. He did have the help of three goalposts.  After 8 NHL starts Condon has yet to lose in regulation time – 6-0-2 with an NHl ranked 1.73GAA and a .936 save% which puts him 6th on the list, tied with Carey Price.

That Second Period – The Canadiens are scary when they play like they did in this game’s second period. It was in-your-face shutdown hockey to near perfection. The only shot given Pittsburgh was a harmless one from off to the side of the net by Ian Cole in the 13th minute. The only real scoring chance came when David Perron backhanded it off the post with five seconds remaining. The Canadiens had the puck 77% of the time in the period according to the corsi all-situation numbers and 5-on-5 it was 76%.

1 pens paciorettyGet HappyMax Pacioretty got the worriers going when he failed to register a point in five straight games. In his last three games he has a goal (albeit and empty netter) and three assists. Better news were the six shots on goal against Pittsburgh and once again the Plekanec line operated at full power and was the Canadiens best with 12 shots on goal.

All Alone – ….If the Canadiens have one thing on their Christmas wish-list it might be an offensive winger for Alex Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk seems to be coming along nicely at centre. He was especially good in that second period. But, as well as he’s played on the fourth line, the presence of Devante Smith-Pelly on Galchenyuk’s right wing raises more questions than answers. Is it time to resurrect Alexander Semin?

The Big Picture – Hardly a disaster despite the third period. The Canadiens pick up a tough point on the road. They have failed to pick up a point in only two of their 17 games to date (13-2-2). Against the Eastern Conference they have not lost in regulation in 13 games (11-0-2).

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Also Worth Mentioning –

…..Another power play goal which gives the Canadiens at least a power play goal in each of their last eight games – 14 goals in their last 38 opportunities (36.8%).

…. A painful night for Dale Weise and Brendan Gallagher. Weise left the game in the second period after falling awkwardly under a check from the Penguins Ben Lovejoy midway through the second period and returned after missing four shifts. …..Gallagher blocked a Penguins shot off the unprotected inside of his thigh in the third period. He returned to the bench after missing one shift.

….Two more points for P.K. Subban.  He leads the league with 15 assists and his 16 points leads all defensemen.  His 16 points also ties Tomas Plekanec for the team lead.

….The Canadiens are nearing the symbolic 20-game mark of the schedule when teams can make a truc assessment of their worth. The three games leading up to the twentieth will be at the Bell Centre. After 17 games they hold a four point lead on the Rangers and Dallas and have locked up 28 of a possible 34 points. Even the hardest skeptics are being swayed.

Moving On – The Canadiens play three at home starting with Colorado on Saturday night and followed by Vancouver and Arizona on Monday and Thursday of next week.