The Canadiens have faced elimination four times in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs and have won each time.
At the Bell Centre Monday night, Michael Cammalleri scored his 10th and 11th goals of the playoffs and Jaroslav Halak turned in his usual magic in the Canadiens nets as Montreal edged Pittsburgh 4-3 to force a seventh and deciding game in the series. The game will be played in Pittsburgh Wednesday night.
Also scoring for the Canadiens were Jaroslav Spacek and Maxim Lapierre. Sidney Crosby scored his first goal of the series for Pittsburgh along with Kris Letang and Bill Guerin.
The Canadiens were outshot 37-25 in the game, including 13-6 in the first period.
(Game Video Highlights plus Replay of Lapiere Goal Below)
How It Went
The First Shot – Pittsburgh defenceman Kris Letang was checked off the puck by Andrei Kostitsyn who created a 2-on-1 for Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri. Plekanec set up Cammalleri for the one-timer. 1-0 at 1:17.
Crosby Finally Strikes – Pittsburgh didn’t get their second shot on goal in the game until 7:15 of the period and seven seconds later with the Penguins applying pressure, Crosby was left alone at the side of the net by Benoit Pouliot and batted the puck out of midair for his first goal of series. Crosby’s first goal in 170 shifts dating back to the Ottawa series. In his one-ice time it amounted to a 136 minutes 20 seconds drought.
Spacek Makes His Mark – Spacek missed nine game with what is largely reported as a vertigo problem. With just over a minute remaining in the period he dove to break up a 2-on-1 break as Crosby attempted to pass the puck across.
Quick Whistle – with forty-five seconds left in the period Evgeni Malkin scored but the referee had lost sight of the puck and play was whistled dead. No goal. 1-1 after one period.
Halak Takes Over – In the period’s second minute Halak stopped a Pascal Dupuis breakaway. Seconds later the Penguins went on the power play when Maxim Lapierre was called for holding. On the power play, Halak stopped Gonchar, Letang, Malkin and Staal and Malkin it a crossbar and Gonchar a post. Still 1-1.
Another Penalty – Twenty seconds after the Lapierre penalty expired Roman Hamrlik was caught for interference. The Penguins got only one shot, but Kris Letang managed to squeeze a 30 foot wrist shot through Halak to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
More Halak – Fifteen seconds after the Letang goal, Halak stopped Jordan Staal on a breakaway.
Cammalleri!!!- At 10:45 Roman Hamrlik broke up the Penguin attack and created a Canadiens 3-on-2. Andrei Kostitsyn sent a terrific pass to Cammalleri who was cutting across and sent a high backhand past Fleury to give the Canadiens a 3-2 lead.
Standing Ovation – Eight seconds later, with the announcement of Cammalleri’s goal, 21-thousand fans stood and cheered through the entire 2 ½ minutes of a television commercial break. 2-2 tie.
Re-Taking The Lead – Three minutes after the Cammalleri goal, Brian Gionta checked the puck away from Bill Guerin and fed Scott Gomez who led the rush into the Pittsburgh zone. Gomez back to Spacek who’s screen shot beat Fleury. 3-2 Canadiens end of two periods.
The Third Period
Feeding off the Crowd – Rather than protect the lead, the Canadiens grabbed the game by it’s figurative throat. Buoyed by an unrelenting wall of noise, Spacek had a good chance on an early power play. Plekanec gave Kostitsyn and excellent chance. Bergeron and Moen made great defensive plays. A Hamrlik shot deflected off the outside of the post.
Goal Of the Series – Maxim Lapierre, playing with confidence that was absent most of the season, entered the Pittsburgh zone stopped and then went deep around Alex Goligoski, cut in front of the net with Dominic Moore on the doorstep. He stepped around Moore and hooked the puck past Fleury. Unassisted goal at 11:03. Canadiens-4 Pittsburgh-3
It’s Never Easy – Playing desperately, the Penguins tried to come back. Halak seemed to be down and out of the play but still stopped Malkin at 16:43 of the period.
The Extra Attacker – Fleury came out of the net with a minute and a half left. Sergei Gonchar let a shot go that Bill Guerin deflected past Halak to make it a one point game. Fleury remained on the bench but the Penguins failed to get another shot through the final 1:24.
What’s With Crosby? – As time ran out, Crosby took a run at Tomas Plekanec in the corner of the Canadiens end. It started some pushing and shoving and led to a crosschecking minor to Crosby and a roughing minor to Plekanec. Game over. Canadiens win 4-3.
Summing It Up – The best overall effort of the series for the Canadiens, especially the third period when the Canadiens carried the attack to the Penguins. The Canadiens played without Hal Gill, but the combination of P.K. Subban and Josh Gorges limited him to just three shots on goal. Spacek, on his return from a three week absence was outstanding. Special notice should be taken of the game Andrei Kostitsyn played which was excellent. Halak has had more difficult nights in the playoffs than this game. He faced 37 shots, but had a clear view of most of them.
The Goalscorers – Montreal – Cammalleri (10) (Plekanec-Kostitsyn); Cammalleri (11th) (Kostitsyn-Hamrlik); Spacek (1st) (Gomez-Gionta); Lapierre (3rd) (Unassisted). Pittsburgh – Crosby (6th) (Eaton-Kunitz); Letang (5th) PPG (Crosby-Gonchar); Guerin (4th) (Gonchar-Goligoski)
Shots on Goal – Pittsburgh 13-14-10 = 37 Montreal 6-11-8 = 25
The Three Stars – First –Michael Cammalleri (2 goals – 5 shots); Second – Jaroslav Spacek (Goal – 3 blocked shots) Third – Jaroslav Halak (stopped 34 of 37 shots)
P.K. Subban logged the most ice time of any player in the game – 29:11.
Benoit Pouliot’s ice time was limited to 2:43. He had one shift in the final two periods.
Tomas Plekanec won 16 of 21 faceoffs-76%.
Brian Gionta led the Canadiens with six blocked shots
GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
Replay of Lapierre’s Winning Goal