Game of the night: Montréal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins @ Mellon Arena
The Habs came into Mellon Arena with a 4-game home-win streak. The Pens, on the other hand, have just come off of a three-day rest.
Sure you must have all heard of this by now; Sid "the Kid" Crosby has netted his 3rd career hat trick! I'm not a huge fan of the Kid but his goals were noice. But it wasn't him that caught my eyes with the goals. Instead of praising Crosby, I had to give extra recognition to Chris Kunitz.
Chris Kunitz made the turnovers, started the plays and transitions, and just made the hat trick happen! In the end, he was rewarded with a goal of his own! And it ended up being the GWG in the 6-1 win for Pittsburgh.
But Chris Kunitz didn't make it all for the Penguins. Penguins spent their three days off very well and improved their work in their zone, on the offence, and in neutral ice. It was as if the entire rink was their zone and the Habs could only try to penetrate it. And even though Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't so busy, he was solid every time they needed him.
Montréal, on the other hand, was playing exceptionally crappy (pardon my crassness). The previous nights, they skated faster, swifter, and played smarter. Tonight was not a reflection of the pass four wins.
They made poor choices on how they played. Every skater, every goaltender. The Habs' play was sloppy, to say the least. Passes were easily intercepted, the amount of turnovers there were, were one too many, and they took stupid penalties! (Evidently, I'm a Habs fan.)
Like, I know no team is perfect but this was just unacceptable. The defence was too wide open. The offence was too predictable and slow. The men in red didn't stand their ground either. If they had thrown some better hits (if any) and good checks, maybe some of those goals wouldn't have happened. Canadiens just didn't pay attention to the rest of the ice and let the Pens in behind them.
Now, if you haven't had enough, I will present the game from my view and from the half-way point of the second period.
4:30 was left up on the jumbotron at Mellon Arena when Crosby scored his hat trick. It happened in a flash. Chris Kunitz fought the puck out along the boards and freed it for Sid. Jaroslav Halak got his right pad down quickly enough to block Sid's shot but it somehow made it to the Crosby's right skate. He redirected the puck between Halak's pads and into the back of the net. Tom Kowal (the 1st ref) went to video review because Montreal was hollering that it was kicked in. After a quick review, it distinctly was not a kicking motion and was ruled a good goal.
Starting the third period, Jacques Martin pulled Halak out of the posts and put in Carey Price. Halak had stopped 19 of 23 shots before being pulled.
5:39 into the final 20 minutes, the Habitants end the Flower shut-out! It was the only sign of the quickness that Bob Gainey had signed them for. On the PP, Scott Gomez fed Brian Gionta the puck across the rink. With a quick wrist, he centered the puck for Tomas Plekanec and Plekanec just roofed it atop of Fleury.
Hal Gill took a prime example of a stupid penalty. He knocked their net off its awnings and put the reigning Stanley Cup champs on the PP. What did you expect but the Pens score on their PP? Alex Goligoski wristed his shot on goal with Crosby causing a nuisance for Price. Evgeni Malkin had been pretty quiet all evening with a couple of good chances, but only on this goal did he make the scoresheet.
Over three minutes left in red and the Penguins strike again! For all his hard work and great production, Christ Kunitz gets his much deserved goal. Add three assists (all of which were on Crosby's goals) and Kunitz has registered his first 4-point night in his career. With all the ice, time, and puck he had, the only thing stopping him was bad luck and Carey Price. Lucky for him, luck was on his side as Price failed to stop the puck and the puck hit the back of the net.
3 stars of the night:
(1) Sid the Kid
(2) Chris Kunitz (who I think deserves the first star then Crosby)
(3) Bill Guerin