by Tony on 02/04/09 at 01:37 AM ET
The Penguins will fly home tonight to a jubilant Pittsburgh after their 6th Super Bowl Championship parade today.
Or, should I say, jubilant until they got home and watched the Penguins go winless on their three game road trip after another disappointing 4-2 loss tonight in Montreal to the Habs.
The sole bright spot tonight for the Penguins was the NHL debut of Luca Caputi, who like his boss Mario Lemieux 25 years earlier, scored on his 1st shift in the NHL. Scoring alone would have been great enough, but it was a dirty goal in a scrum in front of Habs’ goalie Carey Price, the type of which is sorely needed by the oft-soft Penguins.
Caputi played well in his debut, getting a few good scoring opportunities, working hard along the boards, and made a couple of steals in the neutral zone. After a few shifts on the fourth line, HCMT actually put him on the second line with Petr Sykora and Evgeni Malkin, and he really didn’t look too out of place at all.
Caputi’s goal started the scoring for the Pens early on. Caputi grabbed the puck and skated in on Price and attempted a backhand to the top shelf that Price stopped, however in the ensuing scrum Caputi actually got a second shot but Price stopped it again. However, the third time was the charm as his poke finally got through Price and into the net at the 2:30 mark to give the Pens a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t last long, though. A couple of minutes later, the Habs took advantage of yet another puckhandling error by Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury, who had seemingly improved so much on his puckhandling from Ty Conklin after returning from his high ankle sprain, has noticeably regressed again this year. Fleury attempted to clear a puck dump-in but fumbled it. Sergei Kostitsyn grabbed the loose puck behind the net and fired a centering pass to Roman Hamrlik, who fired a quick wrister past Fleury, who hadn’t completely got set yet, and tied the game at one.
The Habs took the lead on a microcosm of the Penguins season. On a Penguins’ powerplay, Sidney Crosby brought the puck into the Habs’ zone, but attempted to make a no-look backhanded pass. Instead, the puck went directly to Chris Higgins, who grabbed the puck, skated in on Fleury and fired a wrister to the top shelf past Fleury to make it 2-1 Habs midway through the second period.
The Penguins’ problems continued a few minutes later with another symptom of their disappointing season, poor defense. Max Pacioretty had the puck behind the Pens’ net and was checked well by Alex Goligoski, but he was able to make a backhanded feed in front of the net to Maxim Lapierre, who was all alone to fire a wrister past Fleury to make it 3-1.
Midway through the third period, the Pens cut the lead to one on the powerplay when Malkin fired a wrister from the slot past Price to make it 3-2 Habs.
But the Habs put the finishing touch on the scoring at the 15:45 mark when Andrei Kostitsyn got a nice centering feed from former Penguins Alex Kovalev and poked it into the net for the final score of 4-2.
- The Penguins’ powerplay, already down to 24th in the NHL, went 1 for 4.
- Ryan Whitney was, in a word, horrible. -4 tonight.
- Caputi ended up with an impressive 15:11 of icetime.
The Penguins, fortunately, don’t have a lot of time to stew about it. They face the Lightning tomorrow night at the Igloo.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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