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Penguins vs. Canadiens recap; Pens win 4-3 in the shootout

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The Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens play until the shootout. A nice night for Sidney Crosby with 2 assists and a shootout game-ender.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens and the PIttsburgh Penguins played to a shootout tonight. A back-and-forth, high powered game between two good teams. Let's get to it!

The Highlights

Just 13 seconds in, Sidney Crosby put a beautiful centering pass in for Pascal Dupuis who knocks it in.

It wouldn't take long for Montreal to even it after a point-shot from Andrei Markov that clicked off of Matt Cullen's stick.

Shortly after Patric Hornqvist almost scored from a point-blank chance in front but could not beat goalie Mike Condon. The refs would review this at the next break. Even though this maybe, possibly, could have been a goal, there was no conclusive video evidence, so the right call was made. A tip of the cap to Condon for sweeping his leg over and keeping the puck out officially.

Scary moment later in the first when Ben Lovejoy 's stick goes up into the face of Marc-Andre Fleury into what looked like the eye area. Flower would have to leave the ice and go to the locker-room (sending Jeff Zatkoff into the game) but Fleury would return at the next whistle.

Phil Kessel pushed the Pens up 2-1 with 44 seconds left to go in the 1st period after ripping this wrister that hit off of P.K. Subban. Olli Maatta made the play, after taking a pass from Evgeni Malkin he rocketed up the ice, dished to Phil and then drove the net. Now that's the Olli Maatta that everyone knows and loves. Maatta would later be credited with the goal.

In the second period Kris Letang jumped into the play and Pascal Dupuis didn't quite rotate back quick enough. The puck quickly got advanced up (and a bad bounce off the skate of Ian Cole ) sprung Brendan Gallagher all alone on Fleury. Not ideal. 2-2.

Montreal would jump out to a 3-2 lead with this Brian Flynn goal. If Fleury should have saved one, it would have been this one.

5 minutes in the third, after a good push all period, the Pens would get an equalizer when Patric Hornqvist beat Condon on the rush.

We would go to a shootout after this. Pens have more skillz.

Measuring against the keys

Revisiting what we identified as the keys of the game this morning...

#1 Pile 'em up on Condon

What we wanted: Lots of goals early.

What we got: 2 goals in the first 20 minutes to take a 2-1 lead into first intermission. They would end up giving it back but it was a good start. Add in 2 goals in 2 shootout attempts, and not to mention a couple of posts, and the Pens pretty much were good offensively tonight against an inexperienced goalie.

Grade:B+

#2 Key in on MaxPac

What we wanted: Try to limit Max Pacioretty

What we got: He had an assist and 6 shots on goal with 9 total attempts. Didn't exactly choke him out, but hey, unlike the last time these two teams met when Max had 2 goals, he didn't break the game this time.

Grade:B+

#3 Win at 5 on 5

What we wanted: Be better than Montreal at even strength

What we got: Pens out-scored Les Habs 3-2 at ES. That's what we wanted since we figured the special teams battle wouldn't go well, and it didn't; the Pens didn't score on the PP, and Montreal did.

Grade:A

Some thoughts

  • Finally death to the "Pens can never win with Johnston after being down after 2 periods" narrative.
  • Nice job by Zatkoff to come in cold and make 3 saves while Fleury got his senses back. One of the hazards of the job for being a backup goalie - to be ready at anytime - and JZ was tonight.
  • Pretty slick sequence by Beau Bennett to spring Crosby and Dupuis for a 2-on-1 with a little chip out of the d-zone in the first period. Crosby's shot hit Condon and then the outside of the far-post, but hey, Crosby needs creative wingers to spring him. Give him that chance a few times and it will hit the net sooner than later.
  • Maatta did well to jump up in the play for the Pens' second goal. Nice to see him show tangible signs of progress as he gets his sea legs back under him.
  • Pens outshot 13-1 in the second period. Yeeee-ikes. Pittsburgh at least had 7 shot attempts in the period (including a David Perron shot that hit the post with 3 seconds left in the period) that could have made things better. Could have, but didn't.
  • Then again, Pittsburgh turned it on for 17 shots on goal in the 3rd period in the comeback effort. So if you're going to knock them for the 2nd, gotta credit them for an inspired effort in the 3rd.
  • Bad penalties by Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby to take sort of ticky-tack penalties in the 2nd as well. Not rough actions, but that's two team leaders getting frustrated and leaving the door opened to be called.
  • After 2 periods with 2 more ES goals against, the Ian Cole / Letang pair finally got broken up for the 3rd period with Maatta jumping up with Letang and Cole getting Rob Scuderi as a partner.
  • Very disappointing for the Pens to finish 0 for 4 on the night on the power play, including 1 late in the 3rd period, another in overtime. A couple of good chances, but no dice. Could have tipped the balance of the game but didn't.
  • But then there's the shootout. Fleury looked solid stopping both attempts he faced, nice to see David Perron and Crosby score on their attempts. Should hopefully give them both some confidence to hit pay-dirt.
  • Finally, a hearty and genuine THANK YOU from all of us at Pensburgh out to all of our vets on this Veterans Day. You guys and girls are the reason we can watch a hockey game in peace at home tonight. Our unending thanks for that, today and every day!