This is why you have pro scouts.
The Penguins studied video of the Canadiens killing 32 of the 33 penalties they took against the most dangerous power-play in the league.
“Hey,” a coach may have popped up and said, “let’s try moving the puck quickly on our PP. Short passes, break down their box.
“No rushed plays or shots. We’ll be patient, get traffic in front and set up some point shots.”
In seven games, Washington scored once with the man advantage.
The Canadiens got four in 34 minutes.
And that was the ballgame.
The Pittsburgh coaches also noted the number of shots the Canadiens blocked against Washington – 41 in the deciding game.
Again, the Penguins got good puck movement and worked for open shots.
Result: Eight Canadiens blocked 15. And 14 Penguins blocked 22.
They saw what happened to Washington. And the Stanley Cup champions wdere ready.
The Canadiens had a 34-21 shot advantage and outscored the Penguins at even strength until Bill Guerin’s empty-netter.
With him in the lineup, they are 25-13-7.
He is the key man on the power play and great 5-on-5.
There’s a chance Jaro Spacek will be ready for Sunday. Let’s hope so, because the D was smacked around by the Penguins and had a tough night.
Josh Gorges and Hal Gill, superb against Washington, looked tired and beaten down.
Jaro Halak was beaten on four of the first 14 shots he faced. yanked for Carey Price 5:18 into the third period, Jaro had allowed five goals on 20 shots – a save percentage of 75.
But you can’t pin the loss on goaltending.
Indiscipline gave the Penguins all those PP opportunities. And while the Canadiens beat Marc-André Fleury three times and exerted some pressure, Jacques Martin has a problem with his forward lines.
And that problem is Andrei Kostitsyn.
On RDS, Joel Bouchard showed a replay of the goal that broke the Canadiens.
Mike Cammalleri had scored to make it 3-2. The Canadiens were making some noise late in the second period.
A few shifts later, AK46 is going off on a change. He has the puck in the neuutral zone and, Bouchard said, the play is to get the puck deep in the Pittsburgh zone.
Instead, Kostitsyn bangs a soft ricochet off the boards. The Pittsburgh Dman is on it just inside the blueline, and the league’s best transition team is off to the races.
The Penguins gain the zone, four Canadiens overplay one side of the ice, Pascal Dupuis finds Craig Adams and Bingo!
It is becoming increasingly difficult, approaching impossible, to make a case for AK46’s bright potential.
He has more brain cramps on one shift than Crosby has in a season. And having this dog as a teammate is an insult to the dedication of Brian Gionta.
In the first game of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, a first-round draft choice with size, speed and a wicked wrister ended the game playing with Glen Metropolit and Tom Pyatt.
The only player Jacques Martin likes less than Andrei Kostitsyn is Sergei Kostitsyn.
Package them both, Pierre, and trade them to Minsk.
• • •
The PK sucked, but P.K. was excellent.
Pressed into a regular shifft and 19:40 of ice time, the Canadiens brightest young prospect scored a goal, showed he belonged and, late in the game, skated hard to make a nice play on Sidney Crosby.
The kid is going to be a very good player for a very long time.
• • •
Props to the lads for not quitting.
Playing soo soon after an emotional seventh game against a well-rested powerhouse team, losing Markov early, getting killed on the PP, surrendering that killer goal to Adams …
The Canadiens kept being smacked down. But they picked themselves up every time.
Sunday will be very tough.
Probably no Markov. Third game in 4½ days. Jaro tired and maybe a bit psyched out.
But the logo on the jersey stands for CHaracter.
The Canadiens can play with Pittsburgh at even-strength.
This isn’t over.
• • •
Don’t you just love HNIC?
Don Cherry talks about Jaroslav “Havlak”.
Then the two ass-wipes on the iDesk quote some Web cretin calling Jaro “Red-Light Halak”.
With the exception of Elliotte Friedman, the whole CBC crew makes me puke.