As stated in the last recap, the old cliche "backs against the wall" doesn't mean much to the Montreal Canadiens. They faced it three times in the first round, and came out of the fire unburned all three times. The same would hold true tonight on the strength of the usual suspects: Mike Cammalleri scored 2 goals (giving him a playoff high 11), Jaroslav Halak stopping 34 of 37 (and getting some help from the posts along the way).
Set it up for Game 7 at the Igloo. Winner moves on, loser has all summer to think about it.
- With Hal Gill out, Jaroslav Spacek stepped in. And wouldn't you know his shot from the point in the second put the Habs ahead 3-2, a lead they'd never give back. That's how it goes in the playoffs, isn't it?
- Sidney Crosby scored his first goal of the series to get the Pens back in the game, and found a little more room to operate without Gill hounding him down. Crosby was sub-50% in the faceoff circles again, and a lot of credit to Tomas Plekanec who won 16 of 21 draws (76%) to cement himself as the best faceoff guy in the series.
- And sure Crosby got a lot of PP time (6:45) but he also played 4+ minutes than any other forward on either team.
- 14 total shots on goal for Evgeni Malkin who was looking to throw everything on net. Unfortunately only 4 shots got to Halak and he got them all. One Halak didn't get was a point-blank chance that slid to Geno who rang it off the post. Tough break.
- Jordan Staal and Sergei Gonchar also put pucks on iron with authority too. What could have been.
- The emergence of P.K. Subban continues. He lead everyone with 29:11 time played and was a +2. Impressive stuff.
- Kris Letang was on ice for three goals against (ending a -2) but had a power play goal. Such positives can't really be found with the Alex Goligoski / Jordan Leopold unit that allowed Maxime Lapierre to skate into the zone, dance around and bury a puck by Marc-Andre Fleury.
- Speaking of Fleury, no softies tonight, pretty much all the goals came from breakdowns, traffic and/or just great shots from Cammalleri. Fleury also managed to make some quality stops, it's hrd to put too much fault in him, given the situations the team in front of him put him in.
The Pens and Habs have traded wins in each of the first six games. The last four games have all been one goal games (throwing out an empty netter). It's been close. It's been tight. It's been tightly contested. There's still one more to go to settle things. It'll be in Pittsburgh, for potentially the last game ever in Mellon Arena. Ironically the Canadiens were the first ever visitors to the Igloo back in '67 and now they'll try to close the place. As always in a Game 7, the team that digs deepest will be rewaded.