After giving up a two-goal lead, the Penguins make their own comeback for the second game in a row and win, 5-4, in Montreal.
-Paul Steigerwald mentions that John LeClair taught Ryan Malone how to cause havoc around the net. Hopefully he didn't teach him how to suplex his own teammates:
-Dany Sabourin surprisingly gets the start in net for the Penguins.
-Cristobal Huet will be his counterpart in Montreal's goal.
-The Penguins' scratches are Erik Christensen, Marc-Andre Fleury and Chris Minard.
-Montreal scratched Steve Begin, Patrice Brisebois and Tom Kostopoulos.
18:17: Michael Ryder grabs the puck behind the Penguins net and tries to jam it in. Sabourin says no.
18:08: Tonight's obligatory smashing of Connor James along the boards is bought to you by Ryan O'Byrne.
18:04: James is able to work through the traffic and feed the puck into the slot to Tyler Kennedy. Huet stands tough and denies Kennedy on his doorstep.
16:54: Bryan Smolinksi comes down the right side, winds up and fires a slapper. Sabourin kicks it out and covers the puck.
16:04: Evgeni Malkin uses Saku Koivu as a screen and snaps a quick shot off. Huet is able to kick it out.
13:14: In traffic, Malkin makes a blind pass from the left faceoff circle to the point. Ryan Whitney grabs it and throws a wrist shot on net. It hits off Guillame Latendresse's leg, off Mathieu Dandenault's stick and squeaks through Huet and in for a goal. Whitney ultimately gets credit for the goal. Penguins 1-0.
9:44: Roman Hamrlik clears the puck up the ice off the boards. Andrei Kostitsyn picks it up and is seemingly off to the races on a breakaway. Sergei Gonchar surprisingly catches up with him and merely pushes him to the ice from the side. It's a slightly bizarre, but marvelous play by Gonchar.
7:40: Andrei Markov grabs a puck before it leaves the offensive zone, turns and throws a wrister on net. Sabourin is able to glove it and freeze play. Coming back from commercial, Steigerwald references the Penguins' dramatic 5-4 shootout win in Washington, D.C. last season on Dec. 11, 2006. We actually went to that game. Amazing experience.
5:32: Latendresse works the puck out of the corner and rifles a wrister from the left faceoff circle that clinks off the cross-bar.
3:49: Jordan Staal drives down the slot with the puck. O'Byrne dives to knock the puck away but also trips Staal . Two minutes.
1:42: Alex Kovalev works the puck up the ice, spins and fires a backhander. Sabourin makes a fine kick save.
1:13: Clearly last night's lunar eclipse had something to do with this. Why else would Jarkko Ruutu score twice in one week? Kennedy works the puck into the corner. Ruutu comes out with it, skates across the crease and slides a soft shot underneath Josh Gorges and Huet. Seemingly unfazed by the fact that a player with no goals this season before this week now has two, Stegierwald is far more captivated by the sight of Ruutu munching his own jersey exclaiming, "He always bites his jersey... Lookathim, lookathim, lookathim, lookahim!" Penguins 2-0.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Canadiens 0.
-The Penguins controls the period by out-shooting Montreal 15-8.
-Dan Potash declares to the world that Ruutu threatened him before the game.
-Steigerwald talks about the Penguins ineptitude at the old Montreal Forum suggesting that there was some sort of ghostly force preventing the Penguins from winning there. Or it could be the fact that the Penguins had guys like Greg Millen or Orest Kindrachuk on their roster while the Canadiens were running with Ken Dryden and Guy Lafleur.
19:25: Colby Armstrong gets slammed by Francis Bouillon against the boards without the puck. No call.
19:02: Amrstrong can be seen on the bench with a bloody nose.
18:53: Maxime Talbot and Maxim Lapierre decide to go at it. Talbot jumps in with a quick punch before Lapierre grabs a hold of him. Lapierre peppers the back of Talbot's head with a few shot. Talbot counters with a pretty quick righ. Lapierre hits him with a few more shots before they wrestle to the ice. The officials actually have to wrestle them off of each other. Lapierre's $494,949,323 Reebok Edge-Super-Duper-Mega-Ultra-Awesome-Humungo-Women-Will-Want-You Uniform System jersey is absolutely ripped to shreds. Good thing they made those things so durable and resistant. Talbot even makes fun of him for his jersey. The officials are seemingly so disgusted with Lapierre's jersey, they hand him a 10-minute misconduct.
16:33: Sergei Kostitsyn out-muscles Darryl Sydor for a loose puck in the corner. He controls it and snaps a backhanded pass to Koivu. Koivu takes it, jumps into the slot and slides it by Sabourin's stick side. Staal and Armstrong were sleeping on the play and did a terrible job back-checking. The goal horn blares for about 25 seconds over "Vertigo" by U2. Penguins 2-1.
14:12: Latendresse clips Kris Letang in the face. Two minutes. Replays show Markov getting away with an elbow to Malkin's mid-section.
13:01: Sykora fires a pass from the corner into the slot to a streaking Whitney. Huet is there with the initial save, but Ryan Malone crashes the crease again and bang home the rebound through Huet's five hole despite having two Canadiens defenders on him. Malone loses his glove again on the play just like the game-winning goal he scored against the Panthers Tuesday. This guy should just start playing barehanded. Penguins 3-1.
12:30: Potash shows us an item about several students form a school in Nova Scotia who won Sidney Crosby bobbleheads for the work on a calendar promoting living a healthy lifestyle. Ironically enough, this followed a Taco Bell commercial.
12:21: O'Byrne hammers Ruutu against the boards.
8:14: Steigerwald refers to Boullion as a "pepper pot."
5:39: Malone steals a puck in his own end and generates a three-on-one with Malkin and Petr Sykora. Malone gives it to Malkin who taps it to Sykora. Sykora dishes it back to Malkin who then slides it to Malone who can quite get his stick on the puck. Someone needs to shoot that.
3:44: Taffe slams O'Byrne against the boards.
3:29: Ruutu is nabbed for hooking Tomas Plekanec. Michel Therrien is looking sharp by the way. He's rocking out with a black suit, a baby blue shirt and a matching striped tie.
2:18: Mark Streit blasts a one-timer from the point. Sabourin kicks it out with his left toe.
1:53: Wow. From the near boards, Kovalev fires the puck at Christopher Higgins' stick and it is re-directed by Sabourin. That almost looked like Kovalev intended to do that while Higgins had no clue what was going on. He looked more surprised by that shot than Sabourin. Penguins 3-2.
0:00: End of period. Ruutu and Talbot exchange pleasantries with the Canadiens as they leave the ice. Penguins 3, Canadiens 2.
-The Penguins own a 23-15 advantage in shots.
-Montreal's skyline at night looks pretty cool.
-Potash fearlessly hugs Malone despite the little blotch of blood on his left shoulder.
-Mike Yeo gets the call before the third period. Dyn-O-Mite!
19:54: Armstrong runs over Bouillon and sends him to the bench.
19:39: Michael Ryder works the puck from behind the net, turns in the right faceoff circle and throws a wrister on net that finds it way through traffic and into the net. Canadiens 3, Penguins 3.
18:16: This period gets off to a cruddy start. Kennedy is called for hooking.
16:35: Koivu brings the puck up ice weaving through Penguins defenders. He slides a pass across the slot to Roman Hamrlik who burns Sabourin with a wrist shot to the blocker side. Canadiens 4-3
14:44: Mike Komisarek, who's had a quiet game so far, hammers Malkin in the corner.
13:47: Jeff Taffe tries to hit Hamrlik in the corner. Hamrlik responds with a shoulder that separates Taffe and his helmet.
11:53: Malkin is tripped by Kovalev. No call. Malkin tries to play the puck while laying on the ice and his stick hits Komisarek in the face. Call.
11:30: Staal tries to go after a loose puck in the corner. Mark Streit basically engages him in an impromptu Oklahoma Drill. Apparently interference isn't a penalty anymore.
10:05: Ryder hammers Sydor in the corner and Sydor rolls on the ice in pain. Trainer Chris Stewart comes out to help him to his feet. Armstrong and Malone exchange words with Ryder for the hit.
9:38: Malkin decides to tell the officials to go ahead and keep their whistles in their pocket. He'll try to win this game on his own with out their penalties. As the power play expires, the Canadiens give the puck away. Malone picks it up and springs Malkin on a breakaway with a torpedo pass. Fighting off Komisarek, he bears down on net and rips a shot under Huet's blocker. Canadiens 4, Penguins 4.
9:35: Right off the faceoff. Plekanec takes a hack at Malkin's uh... area between his legs. Malkin give him a big of a cross check.
9:17: The NHL has apparently reinstituted interference as a penalty as Kovalev is sent to the box for that reason.
9:02: Malkin plase the puck from the corner to the point. Whitney takes it and slide it along the blueline to Gonchar who bombs a one-timer that beat Huet blockerside. It is Gonchar's 600th career point. Penguins 5, Canadiens 4.
8:48: Staal chops a puck on net. Huet eats it up.
8:14: Kovalev comes screaming down the crease. Penguins fans, all too familiar with the damage that man can do, hold their break as he whips a wrister on net. Scuderi is Johnny-on-the-spot and blocks the shot out of play.
7:23: Ryder has an opportunity to fire at an empty cage, but pushes the shot just wide.
6:42: Hamrlik hits Armstrong in the face with an elbow and he left his feet do it. Hamrlik is sent to the box for two minutes. Dumb penalty.
4:40: Malkin zips a shot from the boards on net and Huet absorbs it and freezes play. The Hab kill off Hamrlik's penalty and dodge a big bullet. It would've been nice for the Penguins if they could've made Hamrlik pay for his gaffe.
4:34: Armstrong gets away with a hold.
1:12: As Dustin Hoffma... er... Guy Carbonneau call time out, Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is played. Huet is pulled.
0:49: Sykora shoots for one of us and misses. Icing is called.
0:20: Plekanec throws the puck on net from the far boards. Sabourin knocks it down and covers it up. Malkin asks Therrien if he wants a timeout. Therrien says no.
0:01: Ryder grabs the puck at the blue line and blasts a shot. It hits traffic and is kicked away.
0:00: End of game. Montreal fans stop believing. Penguins 5, Canadiens 4.
-WOW! What a game. Back and forth. Hard hitting. Tons of skill. Not a great deal of quality goaltending but this was a fantastic contest. A playoff series between these two would be awesome to watch.
-Malkin now leads the league with 82 points, four more than Alexander Ovechkin's 78.
-Gorges and Letang each had four blocked shots.
-The Penguins were mauled, 30-18 in faceoffs.
-Montreal fans are loud. That's cool. We respect that. But that "Ole, ole, ole" chant got old pretty fast.
-How quiet did they get though when the game was over. It was like a funeral.
-If you liked power plays, this was your game. The Penguins went 2-for-4 while the Habs were 2-for-3.
-The win moves the Penguins into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
-The Penguins out-shot Montreal 30-21.
-Dany Sabourin only made 17 shots. To be kind, it wasn't his strongest game.
ARTSY, OUTDOORSY PEOPLE READ US
A creative person who we suspect has better skating ability than Michel Ouellet recently e-mailed us:
"In response to Geno taking the lead in the scoring race, I thought I'd send a painting I did of him last season. It's around 4-by-6 feet and hangs above the TV that we watch all the Pens games on. Fortunately, here in Northern Pennsylvania we get both FSN Pittsburgh and Versus (no going to the weird cousin's house to watch the game.) Pond hockey is also alive and well. The guys from my local pub and some of my students (I'm an art teacher) get together a few times a week and play a little shinny. A few cracked ribs and a broken arm aside, we've been having a great time. We visit EN every day to keep up with NHL info and for a good laugh."
James "Beez" States, Wellsboro, Pa.
EN-James also sent along a photo of the painting and one of his own personal Winter Classic.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Guy Carbonneau has Evgeni Malkin on his fantasy team or something.
-There is no news on Gary Roberts. Gary Roberts is the news.
-Penguins goaltending prospect David Brown was demoted from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to Wheeling.
-Georges Laraque is bendy and sweaty. (Kudos to EN readers Michael Janicki, T.J. McAloon and Ron Coughenour for passing that along to us.)
-Random Fuzzy YouTube Find of the Day: Jay Caufield getting owned by Rangers goon Joey Kocur:
Does anyone remember this form the 1997-98 season? Down 3-0 to the Devils at home with roughly 12 minutes left, former Penguins coach Kevin Constantine pulled Tom Barrasso for an extra attacker on a power play. To say the least, it didn't work:
-Rick DiPietro made 32 saves and led the Islanders to a 1-0 shutout of the Lightning.
-Islanders sociopath Chris Simon played his first game since stomping Penguins forward Jarkko Ruutu Dec. 15. He had served a 30-game suspension.
-Apparently finding ice too fast a surface to navigate, Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher has moved to a form of H2O more his speed.
Thomas Vanek is doing everything he can to back up his playoff guarantee. He had a goal and two assists for the Sabres in a 5-1 rout of the rival Maple Leafs.
Marco Sturm's shootout goal gave the Bruins a 5-4 win at Florida. It was the third consecutive game the Panthers lost after holding a two-goal lead. Boston out-shot Florida, 48-27.
-Defenseman Brian Campbell rejected a contract offer by the Sabres.
-Maple Leafs forward Boyd Devereaux will be out 4-to-6 weeks due to a knee injury.
-Scott Walker had a goal and two assists and helped the Hurricanes to a 5-3 win against the Thrashers.
-The Hurricanes demoted defenseman Casey Borer to Albany of the AHL.
-Panthers forward Richard Zednik talked to the media for the first time since suffering his neck injury.
-Panthers defenseman Noah Welch, a former Penguin, is hoping to return to the lineup by March 4. He has been out with a shoulder injury since early November.
-The Penguins got some help from the Blue Jackets who beat the Senators, 3-2, in a shootout. Rick Nash's shootout goal sealed the win for Columbus.
Mason Raymond's shootout goal gave the Canucks a 3-2 win at Nashville. Roberto Luongo made 49 saves in the win.
-Joe Thornton had two assists for the Sharks in a 3-1 win at Philadelphia. The Flyers have lost nine consecutive games.
-Patrick O'Sullivan had a goal and four assists and Alexander Frolov had a hat trick in a 5-1 rout of the Blues.
-Ducks forward Ryan Carter suffered a broken wrist.
-Victor Chip of the Sporting News says the NHL needs do a better job of promoting the trade deadline in the United States.