Canadiens win a nailbiter, 4-3 in a shootout

Pittsburgh roared back from a 3-0 deficit as Ryan Whitney scored in the desperate dying minutes to send the game into overtime and, ultimately, a shootout.
And what a shootout.
16 shots were taken before Andrei Markov puts a backhand past Dany Sabourin

Carey Price, whose shootout heroics secured a World Junior Championship for Canada last winter, was perfect on the eight Pittsburgh shots he faced.

It was the Canadiens’ longest shootout. They went seven rounds against Toronto in a losing cause 366 days ago.

The Canadiens – who did not sweep any of their 15 back-to-back series last season – bagged four points on the road against two of the Eastern Conference’s better teams, Carolina and the Penguins.
The last time the Canadiens won back-to-back games on the road was Oct. 5-6, 2005 against the Bruins and Rangers.

Man of the Match: Andrei Markov. Two goals, including the shootout winner. Three blocked shots. 29 minutes of ice time, to lead both teams.
Two more guys who came up big in the late going, when Pittsburgh threatened to take control of the game: Francis Bouillon and Mathieu Dandenault.

• • •

Eric Christensen: Miss
Kovalev: Miss
Petr Sykora: Miss
Saku: Miss
Sidney Crosby: Miss
Plekanec: Miss
Ruutu: Miss
Streit: Miss
Evgeni Malkin: Miss
Higgins: Miss
Gonchar: Miss
Kostitsyn: Miss
Whitney: Miss
Ryder: Miss
Recchi: Miss
Markov: BACKHAND GOAL!!!!!

OT Fleury shouldn’t be buying green bananas.

OT Good chances on the PP here. But the Canadiens look tired.

OT Well, three points at least on a back-to-backer.

Third Period 1:52 Ryan Whitney

Third Period 2:19 Unbelievable. A heroic PK, then another penalty.
Carbo takes a timeout.
Faceoff in the Canadiens zone.
Sabourin out.

Third Period 4:11 OH NO!!
Canadiens too many men.

Third Period 6:30 Kostopoulos replaces Ryder on top line. In listing heroes I forgot Koivu and Markov. The latter has been great tonight.

Third Period 7:00 The minutes are flying like hours. This is very tense.

Third Period 8:00 Heroes of the third period: Dandenault and Bouillon.

Third Period 9:00 Very long shift for Hamrlik and Gorges.

Third Period 12:15 Kovalev is in a fog. His worst game of the season.

Third Period 13:00 Komisarek is back. And the Penguins take another penalty.

Third Period 13:31 Streit replaces Komisarek with Markov and Price makes a big save on Gonchar.
Hanging on by fingernails here.

Third Period 16:00 Komisarek got hit on the ankle by a shot and he’s really hurt. This better not be serious.

Third Period 17:25 Kostitsyn on fourth line.

Third Period 18:25 Gorges hooked. No call. Third-period rules.

• • •

Penguins will bring it early. Carey Price will have to be huge.
Big key for the Canadiens as the third period begins: NO PENALTIES!
I wonder how Carbo will handle his lines. Shortening the bench might be an idea, but the Canadiens will be tired after last night’s game and travelling.

• • •

After 40 minutes, Saku Koivu and Tomas Plekanec are 17-9 on faceoffs.
Jordan Staal and Maxime Talbot are 3-13.

• • •
After Michael Ryder makes it 3-0, Danny Sabourin replaces Marc-André Fleury in the Pittsburgh net and the change energizes the Penguins.

Peter Sykora on the power play – a shot Carey Price would love a second crack at – and Sidney Crosby through a screen make it 3-2.

The home team is laying on the body and the Canadiens’ defence – so solid this season – is running around a bit. Even Roman Hamrlik is making mistakes.

Third period will be a big test … especially for the team that played last night.

Second Period 1:30 Kostitsyn with Chipchura and Kostopoulos.

Second Period 3:00 Kovalev has not had the best period of his long and glorious career. A crucial penalty that allowed the Penguins back in. On the ice for Crosby’s goal.

Second Period 5:00 Bégin, playing with Smolinski and Dandenault, gets dinged by Adam Hall.

Second Period 5:29 Canadiens are out of sync this period.

Second Period 5:37 Price stones Malkin and gets bowled over.

Second Period 5:55 Good passing on the PP. Not enough shots.

Second Period 7:55 Chipchura draws a hook by the Whiner. PP goal would be huge here.

Second Period 8:40 Colby F. Armstrong.
Mario looks like he could play.

Second Period 9:20 Bégin with Kovy and Pleks.

Second Period 10:32 Michel Therrien has made an adjustment. He’s playing his third and fourth lines against Komisarek and Markov, which frees up Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
This will be 3-3 soon.

Second Period 11:43 Momentum has shifted … totally.
After a chaotic period of late line changes, Crosby makes it 3-2.

Second Period 16:00 Gorges has bounced back from a shaky start.

Second Period 16:56 Sykora will do that. But Price was not great. And he knows it.

Second Period 18:11 Battle of the Network Stars; Kovy vs. Crosby

Second Period 19:11 Michael Ryder screws up a sequence, then scores one of his classic wristers.
Josh Gorges gets an assist.
Good night, Marc-André Fleury.

Second Period 20:00 Canadiens have scored first in seven of their 10 games

• • •

Don Cherry’s brilliant analysis: Getting nearly killed was Patrice Bergeron’s fault.
What a schmuck!
And of course he’s wetting himself over Vincent Lecavalier’s two fights.
Will he say ANYTHING about the Canadiens.
Just as well.
He wants padding on the end dashers for “the safety of the players”.
What about visors, Don?

• • •
Another great first period.
Yvon Pedneault, on RDS, said the Canadiens played a perfect opening 20 minutes in Pittsburgh.

Canadiens outshot the Penguins 14-6.
Mathieu Dandenault scored off an odd-man rush. Andrei Markov scored on the NHL’s hottest power play.

First Period 00:00 When you’re hot, you’re hot. Josh Gorges foils a rush by … Sidney Crosby.

First Period 02:13 Brilliant. O-zone penalty by Maxime Talbot

First Period 6:08 The Pittsburgh D is just brutal. With all due respect to Kyle Chipchura, he shouldn’t be wheeling around like Gretzky out there.
Stand by for a Therrien tirade.

First Period 10:42 Another PP. And another goal. Markov on a short backhand. 17 in 51 chances.

First Period 10:00 Kostitsyn gets into it with Crosby. Why is the best player in the league such a sucky baby? And I don’t mean Kostitsyn.

First Period 11:40 Gorges has a brutal shift and Price bats one out of the air above his head … which is REALLY up in the air.

First Period 12:49 Crazy Pittsburgh pressure ends with Kostitsyn moving the puck up ice … and Dandenault scores!!!
This guy will never play defence again.


First Period 17:00 That was neat. Pleks made a pass to himself, off the boards.

First Period 18:00 Hamrlik great on the PK. What’s new?

First Period 19:31 First PP. Good pressure, but Streit takes a bad penalty on Ryan Malone.

First Period 20:00 Crosby vs. Koivu. And a good chance for the captain (ours).

First Period 20:00 Points by D: Canadiens are third in the league, behind Detroit and Toronto.
Pittsburgh’s weaknesses: defencemen and goaltending.

• • •

And the CBC Quebec telecast isn’t in HD.
That seals the deal.

• • •

Paul Kelly, the new NHLPA boss, looks and sounds like a solid guy.
Boston man.
‘Nuff said.

• • •

Benoit Brunet on the key to PP success: jumping on loose pucks.
And praise for third line.

And Carbonneau and Demers heap praise on my man, Roman Hamrlik.

• • •

Wow! Highlight of the week was a Jonathan Toews goal.
What will Chicago do to screw up that kid?
Oh, that’s right: Keenan and Pulford aren’t running things anymore.

• • •

Apologies in advance: my high speed is low speed tonight. But I’ll try not to lose any text.

• • •

Man, that was a scary hit Randy Jones laid on Patrice Bergeron.

• • •

Props to CBC: Very nice pre-game feature on Therrien and his family life.

• • •

Hooray! Chantal is in Pittsburgh … asking Therrien about the Québécois flavour of the Penguins.

• • •

Josh Gorges will play with Roman Hamrlik, which should help the kid steady down.

• • •

Yvon Pedneault is wearing the ugliest jacket this side of Michel Therrien.

• • •

Reflecting on the work of the second line last night – three goals, eight points, a collective minus-3 – Jacques Demers says he’s never been a big plus/minus guy.
Benoit Brunet points out that it’s a more significant stat for defencemen.

• • •

So two points in the bag last night.
All I ask on this Saturday night is a good game … and no OT, because I promised my daughter I’d driver her to a DJing gig at 10.

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