For two periods it was all Pittsburgh and then their roof fell in. The Canadiens scored on their first and third shots of the third period for a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Penguins. The best of seven Eastern Conference semi-final series is now tied at two.
Maxim Lapierre scored on a wraparound to tie the game 2-2 at 2:07 of the third period. 1:38 later, Brian Gionta banked a shot off Penguins defenceman Kris Letang for what turned out to be the winning goal.
Tom Pyatt scored on the Habs’ second shot of the game but the Penguins came back quickly. Ruslan Fedotenko scored on a breakaway to tie the game less than a minute later and with Hal Gill in the penalty box Chris Kunitz scored at 5:18 of the first period to make it 2-1 Pittsburgh.
After that, it was all Jaroslav Halak, again the Canadiens first star. The Canadiens were outshot 15-6 in the first period and 10-3 in the second.
(Video Highlights Below)
How It Went
First Blood – With the line of Metropolit, Moen and Pyatt on the ice on game’s third shift Tom Pyatt collected the puck in the corner and simply threw it in front. The puck went through the legs of a startled looking Marc-Andre Fleury. Just the second Canadiens shot on goal. Canadiens led 1-0 at 2:34 of the first.
The Bounce-Back – P.K. Subban fell down under checking at the Pittsburgh blueline allowing Maxime Talbot to break away on a clear breakaway. He scored on a backhand to tie the game.
Taking the Lead – Twenty-seven seconds later Hal Gill was sent off for holding. On the power play, Chris Kunitz fanned on a Sydney Crosby pass but the puck went off his skate and past Halak who was moving in the crease. After a long review, it was ruled a valid goal and Pittsburgh led 2-1. The first three goals of the game were scored in the span of 2:44.
Taking Over – The Penguins dominated the rest of the period outshooting the Canadiens 10-3 the rest of the period. Total shots on goal in the first period 15-6 for the Penguins.
The Second Period
Still On Their Heels – Canadiens were outshot 10-3 in the second. Best chances to make it 3-1, Letang fanned on a Halak rebound with an open net early in the period. And at 11:15 Halak had to scramble back after a bad clear to stop Maxim Talbot. Only highlight for the Canadiens, and end to end rush by Michael Cammalleri that forced Fleury to make a pad save. 2-1 after two periods.
Taking Ownership – Through forty minutes the Penguins had attempted 48 shots on Halak to only 19 attempts by the Canadiens, a 72 percent territorial advantage. The Canadiens blocked 23 shots while the Pittsburgh defence had to get in front of 10 Canadiens shots. Shots on goal after two periods 11-3.
The Third Period
One More For the Grunts – Two minutes into the third period, Mathieu Darche and Maxim Lapierre doubleteamed the Pittsburgh defence behind Fleury. Lapierre wheeled around and jammed the puck into the net to tie the game. The second goal of the game to come from the Habs’ checking lines. It was the first shot on goal of the period.
Shock Time – 1:33 later. Tom Pyatt, playing on a makeshift line with Gomez and Gionta, sent Gionta over the line. Gionta hit defenceman Kris Letang with a pass intended for Gomez. The puck deflected past Fleury and the Canadiens had a 3-2 lead. Two goals 1:33 apart on three shots.
Not Over Yet – The Penguins were outshot 14-10 by the Canadiens in the third period. Still, Halak had to be very sharp to stop Kunitz and Crosby back-to-back midway through the period. At the 16 minute mark Evgeni Malkin had a clear breakaway. Halak stopped that.
Bearing Down – Tomas Plekanec won the last three faceoffs of the game, all against Sydney Crosby, which prevented the Penguins from getting Fleury out of the nets for the extra attacker until the final minute. With that extra attacker the Penguins failed to get a shot. Final Score – Canadiens-3 Pittsburgh-2.
Summing It Up- What is it about this team? “Resilient” seems to be the best word to describe it. Offensively out to lunch through the first two periods, but down only one goal. Two quick goals and then the defence stepped up and closed the deal. Only the second home ice win of five 2010 playoff games. The next game is back in Pittsburgh and, although they won’t say it, the Penguins have to be a little concerned. On the road the Canadiens are 4-2 so far this playoff year. Saturday night it’s back in Pittsburgh.
The Goalscorers – Montreal Pyatt (1st) (Moen-Metropolit); Lapierre (2nd) (Darche-Bergeron) Gionta (5th) (Pyatt-Hamrlik). Pittsburgh – Talbot (2nd) (unassisted); Kunitz (3rd) PPG (Croasby-Goligoski)
Shots on Goal – Pittsburgh 15-11-9 = 35 Montreal 6-3-16 = 25
Three Stars – First – Jaroslav Halak (stopped 33 of 35 shots) Second – Josh Gorges (23:08 ice time – 3 blocked shots) Third – Maxim Talbot (goal – three shots)
The Game Highlights