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Penguins/Canadiens Recap: Pens let a game slip away, lose in OT

Pittsburgh’s first road game gets off to a great start with two Evgeni Malkin goals and a 2-0 lead, and then fritters away into a 3-2 OT loss

Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images


Third game of the season and third time for these skaters in this alignment for the Penguins. The only change is the season debut of Casey DeSmith in goal.

First period

The closest either team came to scoring early was Danton Heinen’s shot that hit the cross bar and caused everyone on the ice to stop and celebrate if in a white Penguin jersey or regroup if playing for the home Canadiens. After further review, there was only one problem: the puck never crossed the goal line and hit the bar then the right post and stayed out. Close, but no cigar.

From there, the Pens didn’t look very sharp and only had six shots on goal.

DeSmith was good, making 11 saves. No penalties on either side and this game just kinda clipped along until the end. Probably more of a period that Montreal would like with the pace and muted opportunities happening few and far between.

Second period

The Pens are a little more focused and appear to have more jump for the second period and Evgeni Malkin opens the scoring for real this time. Marcus Pettersson makes a long cross-ice pass that Malkin hammers quickly from the right side of the ice and beats Samuel Montembeault 3:52 into the second.

On the next shift, Sidney Crosby is denied by only the nob of Montembeault’s stick from making it a 2-0 game and then soon after, Pittsburgh draws a penalty for the game’s first power play. Nothing would come from it, but the Malkin show would continue at even strength. Bryan Rust put the puck on net and it kicked out into a dangerous area. Who found space to be unmarked and jump on it with a quick strike into the net? None other than No. 71 for his second goal of the night and third of the season to put the Pens up by a 2-0 score.

The two teams traded power plays later in the period, with little else going on.

Third period

During the second intermission, it would appear to be the Canadiens who got regrouped and took an opportunity to get their game going. Shortly after a power play of theirs expired, Nick Suzuki shot from the right side. It beat DeSmith, but hit the post and rolled around in the crease. Suzuki dipped around the net and before DeSmith or the Pens’ defense could recover, the new Montreal captain chopped in his own rebound to put MTL on the board just 1:10 into the third.

The Pens’ power play couldn’t get an insurance goal after Jason Zucker was dropped with a high-stick and that would cost them. With 2:20 left, Cole Caulfield took a nice pass from Jonathan Drouin and scored on a one-timer of his own to tie the game. Not great by Jeff Carter to let this puck get through him.


A wide-open start to the 3v3 OT leads to Jeff Petry being whistled for his third penalty of the night for the Pens and Montreal going to a power play. It looked like a matter of time with one scoring chance having a completely open net but the puck kissed the cross-bar.

It wouldn’t be long though before the Habs converted. Kirby Dach in front had a tap-in from in front to send Pittsburgh to their first loss of the season.

Some thoughts

  • It was all about Evgeni Malkin early on during this night. It’s rare for such a great player to constantly be over-looked, doubted, minimized but here we are in the roles that we play in this grand saga. Malkin was brilliant in this game and with his skating is still among the best offensive players in the league and dialed in right now.
  • For being so young and inexperienced, the Canadiens were impressive without the puck in how they defended the Pens for the most part. Montreal might as well be a playoff team compared to Arizona, to relate to another team Pittsburgh has seen early. They hung tough and two of their top players made plays in the third period to give them life.
  • DeSmith was strong early to hold in the Pens when they looked like they were going through the motions in the first period and then called on late. The Pens have two sets of back-to-back games on the road next week, so DeSmith will be getting some playing time again soon. He needed to get off to a better start than last season and tonight wasn’t really on the goalie, he made a few big stops but ultimately the Penguins just didn’t do enough to get the win.
  • Rough night for Jeff Petry in his return to his old stomping grounds, taking all three of minor penalties on the Pens for the night. The second call was fairly weak and perhaps something of a make up call, but so it goes.
  • Other than Malkin, Rust and DeSmith, most of the Penguins players played about a C- or D+ game, and that might be charitable. That’s usually not enough to win. Luckily, thanks mostly to those three, Pittsburgh at least got one point out of the evening and will certainly have some teaching points to hear about from the coaching staff as they move onto the next one.

That’ll wrap this one up, not the greatest start on the road for the Pens, but they were pretty close to sneaking out with a win before Caulfield’s late-game goal that tied it up. Some nights a team can get away with a so-so effort, but a lot of games they can’t. For Pittsburgh, it narrowly ended up being the latter. We’ll see if the effort can get a little better with a couple days off and what will be the last home game in a while on Thursday night.