[Canadiens vs Penguins coverage - SB Nation blog Habs Eyes On The Prize]
Three days have passed since the Penguins dropped a game to the New Jersey Devils, and in the final game of a lengthy home-stand. Business as usual for the Penguins, courtesy the strength of Sidney Crosby's third career regular season hat trick.
- It was all about the top line, in addition to Crosby netting the goals, Bill Guerin (3 assists) and Chris Kunitz (1 goal, 3 assists) were big time players. They were a combined +9 (meaning, no goals against) and 13 shots on goal.
- A little more for Kunitz, a four point night should go a long way to quieting the "why is this guy on the first line" portion of the fanbase, but his goal means a lot. Throw out that the game was 5-1 at the time, the Pens were on the power-play and Kunitz got a breakaway, the circumstances aren't as important as the result. The result was he scored a goal, which has to help him not "squeeze the stick" so hard and ought to take some of the pressure off of him in games to come.
- Crosby also won 67% of his 24 faceoffs and threw in a hit and a takeaway on the night. About as complete of a game as one could imagine.
- The Penguins were equal opportunity abusers tonight, with every Montreal skater coming away at least with a minus in the plus/minus tally.
- Alex Goligoski continues his stellar play: a goal, an assist, +2 in 20:36 of work. Aside from his mandated moustache growth, a very smooth game for the young defenseman.
- Sure sign the Penguins won: they gave Eric Godard 7:26 of ice-time, including a full minute on the power-play in the third. If you knew only this, you could probably guess it was a winning night.
- Marc-Andre Fleury had a quiet, but successful night stopping 23 pucks on 24 shots, only beaten on a 5-on-3 man advantage for the Habs. Montreal never got a lot of sustained pressure or any excellent chances, but when they threw pucks to the net, Fleury had the answers.
- Seemed to be a quiet night for Evgeni Malkin, but he did notch an assist and register 6 shots on goal. Like most stars, seems like Geno's points come in swells and even though it's about low-tide right now, he's still involved and dangerous. Only a matter of time before he has a night like Crosby did.
In the bigger picture, tonight begins three games in four nights for the Penguins, with a short roadtrip to Columbus on Friday night before coming back to Mellon to meet Minnesota before a California swing next week. In this short three game segment of the year it'd be nice to take 4 (or 5 or 6) points away from it, so this keeps the Pens on track for that.