Game of the Night

2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Game 1: Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins @ Mellon Arena
3-6 Final

After just 48 hours of practice and no games, the Canadiens go back at it against the Penguins and their captain that grew up admiring the Montreal franchise - Sidney Crosby.

It didn't take long for this series to get going.  The incredible rookie/recent call-up, PK Subban, started it all.  just 4:30 into the game, Subban got his first NHL playoff goal, unassisted.  That goal awakened the sleeping dragon.

Pittsburgh responded with 3 goals of their own.  3 PPGs on 3 PPs.  If you couldn't tell, that's 100% PP for the Pens just in the first 20 minutes!  Then the Habs started to smarten up a bit and reduce that penalty taking!

This game went sour for the Habs quick.  Not only did they take all those penalties and were scored against on all of their PKs (hence earning a very poor PK percentage); they also lost one of their key defencemen - Andrei Markov.

Markov earned a shoulder into the boards from (none other than) Matt Cooke.  It wasn't an illegal hit or a borderline hit; it was a big hit poorly taken.  Markov just went into the boards hard and badly and crumbled underneath the pressure of Cooke's hit.  And that put one of Montreal's best defencemen out of game 1 with an injury, and is now questionable for game 2.

What went wrong for the Habs (other than the penalties)?  From the game I was watching, Montreal was always 2 steps behind, their bodies and minds were clearly wiped out and not in it, and they just weren't playing for Halak and their net!  They left poor Jaroslav Halak all alone to keep them in it, and a goalie can't do it all (like I keep on saying)!

Having had enough of his team and feeling bad for Halak, Jacques Martin pulled his goalie after the 4th Pittsburgh PPG to save him from any more agony, and put in Carey Price for a night.  What else was he supposed to do?  Allow Halak to suffer when it was the entire team to blame.

If I was Jacques Martin, I would start drilling the Habs into different drills.  More the ones that involve the man-advantage and defensive plays/zone/coverage/that kinda stuff.  Tonight's game was just an embarrassment and there is nothing else that can explain it.

3 stars:
1) Sidney Crosby
2) Kris Letang
3) Brian Gionta

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