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Category: Montreal-Canadiens

Is This The End Of The Canadiens Playoff Run?

from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,

The ice melted to springtime thin beneath the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night, just as Sergei Gonchar’s second-period snapshot kissed the mesh behind goalie Jaroslav Halak.

No big deal, you’ll reasonably suggest — the Canadiens rallied from 3-1, then 3-2 deficits in their Eastern Conference quarter-final series to tie, then eliminate the Washington Capitals, the best team in the National Hockey League’s regular season.

That is so. But the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canadiens’ semifinal opponent, aren’t the Capitals. They are playing with a greater purpose; they are more a team than a swashbuckling band of individuals; and as of Saturday night, they have what appears to be an awakened Evgeni Malkin.

The Penguins’ 2-1 victory at Mellon Arena tilts this series sharply in Pittsburgh’s direction. And it offers their opponent yet another taste of a seemingly endless diet of desperation.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Penguins Get Physical

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

...I will remember the crunching hit Penguins forward Craig Adams delivered on Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges late in the first period. I also will remember Penguins captain Sidney Crosby sending Montreal defenseman Hal Gill flying a few minutes earlier with a shoulder check even though he’s 8 inches shorter and 41 pounds lighter than Gill The Giant.

Playoff hockey.

Physical hockey.

It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

“I thought our physicality set the tone early on,” said Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, who qualifies as an expert on the subject. He leads his team in these playoffs with 47 hits. He had five more Saturday night in a game the Penguins held a 35-23 edge in hits.

more

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Fleury Strong In Net In Penguins Win Over Montreal

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

In a rather dull game by NHL playoff standards, the Penguins managed to edge the Canadiens 2-1 by getting just enough traffic in front of goaltender Jaroslav Halak and by riding the hot hand of their own goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury. He turned in his best game of the playoffs to frustrate the Canadiens as the Penguins took a 3-2 lead in the second-round series. The Penguins can move on to the Eastern Conference final if they beat the Canadiens in Montreal on Monday night in Game 6.

Fleury had been overshadowed in the series by Halak’s wizardry, as the Penguins outshot the Canadiens in three of the five games so far, something he acknowledged after the game.

“It felt good to have some shots and make some saves,” said Fleury, who faced 33 shots. “I felt useful tonight, you know, to do something. I was doing something, not just standing there”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Black & Gold With Red Accents

from KDKA,

As the Canadiens return to Mellon Arena to take on the Penguins in Game 5, many of their faithful fans followed them.

Plenty of red Habs jerseys were spotted among a sea of black, gold and powder blue Penguins jerseys filing into the Igloo….

...some Pens fans aren’t impressed by the Habs fans’ presence.

“They’re getting kind of cocky and annoying to me,” a Pittsburgh fan said. “They seem too cocky.”

“They should go home – they need to go home,” added another Pens fan at the big screen outside Gate 3.

more

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Canadiens Have That Winning Feeling

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

Common sense dictates that the Penguins still remain favourites to move on with two of the three remaining games in Pittsburgh. The Canadiens know it, but playing away from home hasn’t been a problem for them, as they demonstrated by winning three of four in Washington.

That was then and this is now. Still, is their success on the road why the Canadiens were celebrating so long and hard after Thursday’s surprising win?

Have they now reached the point where they are certain in their own minds they will be celebrating twice more in this series - and beyond?

more

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Halak In the Pens Heads?

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Are the Pittsburgh Penguins letting Jaroslav Halak get inside their heads, as the Washington Capitals did?

The Penguins say no, although there is growing evidence the Montreal Canadiens goaltender is doing just that. All concerned insist they simply have to stick to their game plan: make Halak as uncomfortable as possible in his crease and everything will work out Saturday in Game 5 of the NHL Eastern Conference semi-final series.

“A-1 is you have to make sure you don’t let the way a goalie is playing change the way you play and change what makes you successful,” Penguins defenceman Mark Eaton said. “We aren’t going to change too much. We’ll just keep – and I hate throwing clichés out there – but keep plugging along and not let frustration set in. When you do that, you’re giving in and you definitely can’t do that, especially in the playoffs.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jaroslav+halak

Refs Questioned In Montreal

from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,

There was plenty of good reason for whining and moaning at Bell Centre Thursday night, and not by Sidney Crosby.

The Habs were screwed over big-time by the refs in the first period of what would become a stunning 3-2 victory over the Penguins. Up 1-0 on the softest goal given up by a netminder in these playoffs, Montreal held the lead for all of 53 seconds — until Ruslan Fedotenko’s tackle of P.K. Subban at the Penguins’ blue line allowed Max Talbot to make good on a breakaway.

“I knew Fedotenko would make a contribution at some point this spring,” mused one Pittsburgh writer.

A half-minute later, Hal Gill was sent off for holding, and with the Penguins on the power play, Crosby tripped Roman Hamrlik in the Habs’ zone.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Habs Playing Their Game

from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,

Montreal 3, Penguins 2. Disbelief, limitless.

The Canadiens actually would shovel 16 shots at Pittsburgh in the final period, but it hardly mattered after the opening flurry. Their defensive poise, which frayed badly at even-strength for the first time in the series, returned, goalie Jaroslav Halak made a sprawling save on Sidney Crosby with about 10½ minutes left and Evgeni Malkin couldn’t cash a breakaway with four minutes to go. This would be Pittsburgh’s first road loss of the spring.

“If you’d said at the start it’d be two out of three going into Pittsburgh (for Game 5 Saturday),” Mike Cammalleri said, ” I would have said, ‘Why not?’”

Now here is more math that works in Montreal’s favor: although the Penguins have just five goals in the past three games (including an empty netter), 11 Penguins have scored in the series. Not one of them is Crosby.

more

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Canadiens/Penguins Head Back To Pittsburgh Tied 2-2

from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,

After being badly outplayed for two periods and trailing by a goal, the never-say-die Montreal Canadiens roared back for a 3-2 victory Thursday, punctuated by goaltender Jaroslav Halak’s cheeky attempt to score into an empty net and a double-pump celebration at the final horn.

Afterward, the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins were left to rue their luck as they chalked up their first road loss of these NHL playoffs.

“It’s their game,” Pittsburgh defenceman Kristopher Letang said. “We didn’t get very many dangerous shots in the third [period], and they played according to their game plan.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Problem In Montreal

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

There’s not much doubt what the Montreal Canadiens - and that includes management, coaching staff and players - would like to do with Sergei Kostitsyn right about now.

Kick his butt down Rue Ste. Catherine on the way out of town would appear to sum it up.

But it’s in no one’s best interest at this moment to make a spectacle of the Sergei Kostistyn situation.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sergei+kostitsyn

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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