Habs Blog: Habs Eyes on the Prize
They can't all be 8-1 wins, just like they can't always be wins. At least for a 2-1 shootout this was a highly entertaining matchup, up until the point when Montreal's Benoit Pouliot completely froze time to slip the shootout winner past Brent Johnson in the fifth round.
For a game where the Pens were skating without the likes of Sidney Crosby and Matt Cooke in the second half of a back-to-back, the team looked well prepared to go toe-to-toe with the Montreal Canadiens, a team that was coming off four days worth of rest. Coincidentally enough, we saw the Pens benefit from a similar amount of down time Wednesday against the Lightning.
Carey Price was up for the task between the pipes for the Habs, stopping 31 of Pittsburgh's 32 shots after allowing a goal from Arron Asham early in the first. On the other side of the rink, Johnson was similarly primed for the start, pushing aside 22 of 23, minus Pouliot's notch late in the second period.
Montreal and Pittsburgh each came into this game as the number one and two penalty-killing teams in the league, respectively, so it shouldn't come as any surprise to see neither team managed to score with the man advantage. Not that Pittsburgh didn't give Montreal enough of chances, but thankfully the Pens were able to hold the Habs scoreless on four attempts.
In the end, the Canadiens played a very disciplined game, maintained a strong grind-it-out style throughout and stole the extra point on behalf of a fancy move from Johnson's living nightmare, Pouliot, before all was said and done. To Johnson's credit this was his first shootout loss of the season, having started and won in two previous (Islanders and Coyotes earlier in the season).
On the bright side the Pens managed one point, or better yet, three in back-to-back days. While not ideal, one point is better than none on the road.
Pittsburgh has a full day to rest before hosting the Wild Saturday night.