It didn’t take long for the Pittsburgh Penguins to remind the Canadiens that they weren’t too happy with last year’s game seven playoff loss. The Pens came out flying for the first half of the period and started throwing their bodies around, including a hit behind the Habs net by Maxime Talbot on Josh Gorges which forced a turnover and in turn forced Carey Price to be alert early in the period.
Pittsburgh received their first power play of the game at 5:54 of the first period after Maxim Lapierre took a charging penalty on defenceman Kris Letang. The hit caused Letang’s head to bounce off of the glass which drew the ire of Mike Comrie subsequently leading to a fight that neither player really won. The Pens did not score on the power play but came very close when Evgeni Malkin shot the puck to what looked like an empty net, until Price came out of nowhere to swat the puck out of danger to make his first statement of the game.
At 11:11 of the period Michael Rupp took his second penalty of the period allowing Montreal to finally build some much needed momentum. Although they did not score on the power play it did lead to the “blink and you missed it” moment of the game. At 15:24, Plekanec received a nice chip pass from Andrei Kostitsyn and then proceeded to go towards the back of the Pittsburgh net and fooled everyone by dishing the puck to the front of the net where Cammalleri shot the puck off in a hurry, 1-0 Montreal.
End of the period saw a few pentalies being drawn. First it was Gorges who went to the sin-bin for roughing but Pittsburgh's powerplay didn't last long when P. K. Subban took a high stick just above his left eye. Comrie got 4 minutes for that infraction. This seemed to have energized the Pens as they ended the period with a ton of pressure on the Canadiens forcing Price to make multiple saves including another dandy on Malkin. The Pens pressure did not allow them to tie the game before the period ended but it did force Ryan O’Byrne to take a hooking penalty to give them an edge to start the second.
40 seconds into the second period Malkin scored on a snap shot tying the game just as Montreal’s penalty ended. Gomez then took a cross checking penalty at the 1:08 mark to essentially eliminate the rest of what was left on the 4 minute Mike Comrie penalty. This led to Crosby almost scoring his first goal of the season but ultimately ran out of room when he tried to outstretch Price and hit the post.
At 12:02 of the second period Lapierre draws the ire of another Pittsburgh player Maxime Talbot. Talbot was quick to drop the gloves and started the fight before Lapierre could drop his. The refs rightfully handed a roughing pentalty to Talbot. Lapierre walked away with a smile on his face but Montreal could not take advantage of this opportunity. At 15:05, a hooking penalty to Lars Eller and a "too many men on ice" penalty at 16:48 led to a 17 seconds 5 on 3 situation which Montreal successfully killed. The second period ended in similar fashion as the first: The Pens finished strong and Price continued to hold his ground.
The Pens came out strong again in the third period and look poised to take over the game; this forced Price to make a multitude of big saves from the likes of Crosby and Talbot. The Pens finally solved Price for a second time at 8:42 mark of the period when Mark Letestu walked in and beat him through the legs with a quick wrist shot.
The Penguins continued to own the period until Cammalleri scored his second goal of the game when he tipped in a point shot from Josh Georges while standing in front of the net. 24 seconds later the home crowd was stunned when they witnessed Scott Gomez score on his first shot of the season with a soft wrist shot that just squeezed through the legs of Marc-Andre Fleury to give Montreal the 3-2 lead. The Pens then pulled their goalie and continued to press for the tying goal but Price and the defence held the fort to earn their first victory of the season.
HiD Three Stars
- Carey Price
- Michael Cammalleri
- Evgeni Malkin
HiD Turning Point
Montreal scores 2 goals in 24 seconds at the end of the third period.