Brandon Sutter scored at the 52 second mark of the overtime period to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 7-6 win over the Canadiens in a wildly entertaining game at the Bell Centre on Saturday night. It was Sutters second goal of the game, Chris Kunitz and Matt Cookealso scored twice for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby added the other plus two assists. For the Canadiens Brian Gionta scored twice along with Brandon Prust, Max Pacioretty,Brian Gionta. P.K. Subban and David Desharnais. The Canadiens outshot the Penguins 38-36. The three stars were Sutter, Pacioretty and Crosby.
Out of First Place – The loss of the point dropped the Canadiens technically from first to fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins and Canadiens are tied with 30 points, but Boston has three games in hand and have the lead now in the Northeast division, sending the Canadiens down to fourth.
Their Money’s Worth – For Canadiens fans the only thing missing was a win. The game featured 13 goals, 75 shots on goal. It was tied five different times and there was overtime.
Who Knew? Considering the way the game started who could predict it would win up the way it did. Neither team had his collective dancing shoes on, especially the Canadiens who struggled through the first period and felt happy to go to the dressing room in a 1-1 tie. Through the first half of the game Brandon Prust was the Canadiens best player.
Price Forced to Work – After a series of games in which he never faced more than six first period shots on goal, Carey Price had to deal with 14. The lone goal deflected off Alexei Emelin’s leg. The rest of the night Carey was not his usual airtight self.
Cooke’d – After Max Pacioretty opened the second period’s scoring the normally sound Canadiens defensive game came apart at the seams. Kunitz caught Price going the wrong way in the crease; thirty-two seconds later Cooke scored with Neal screening; and then Josh Gorges failed to control a puck and Cooke scored again. 4-2 Pittsburgh.
The “New” Canadiens – Last year they would have thrown in the towel. Not this version. Francis Bouillon banked a shot off Gionta’s leg to make it 4-3 and then with the clock ticking down in the second never-say-die Brendan Gallagher swooped around the net and flipped it into the crease where P.K. Subban was waiting. The goal came with 7/10ths of a second remaining in the period. 4-4 tie.
Back in Front – David Desharnais picked up his own rebound and tucked the puck past Tomas Vokoun from behind the goal line to make it 5-4. Andrei Markov picked up his 13th point of the season on the play, his first non-power play point. Two minutes earlier Markov had saved a goal by sweeping the puck out of the crease while falling backwards with Price out of position.
The Kid Takes Command – Sidney Crosby had been fairly well contained until the third. In the ninth minute he sent a terrific pass to Chris Kunitz and Price had no chance. Tied at 5-5. Two minutes later Price failed to control the rebound on Kris Letang and Crosby jumped all over it for his tenth goal. 6-5 Pittsburgh.
Like Old Times – Things haven’t been too pleasant for Brian Gionta this season. Even the goal was a bank shot off his leg. But twenty seconds after Crosby had given the Penguins the lead, Gionta let a bullet go that tied the game for the fifth and final time. His second goal of the game.
The Overtime Winner – Sutter stepped around a fallen member of the defence and was alone in front of Price. Game over. The Canadiens get a point. They’ve now gone ten in a row without losing in regulation time (7-0-3).
Rocky Road Ahead – Now the Canadiens hit the road for five in eight nights, starting with the Bruins Sunday night.