Game 47: Sid-less Penguins blank Canadiens

Links updated Sunday 7:16 am 

Canadiens’ Mike Komisarek celebrates his 26th birthday by getting in the face of protesting Penguin Jarkko Ruutu at the end of the first period.
Christinne Muschi, Reuters

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Somewhere in Pittsburgh, nursing a badly swollen ankle in front of a TV, Sidney Crosby surely enjoyed a hockey game in Montreal.

On Montreal ice, Penguins goalie Dany Sabourin had a whale of a good time, leading the visiting Pittsburghers to a 2-0 victory over the Canadiens.

Crosby disappointed his fans – and those who hold membership cards in his anti-fan club – by missing tonight’s Penguins’ Bell Centre matchup against the Canadiens. Sid must cool his heels to get a prognosis on the ankle he badly sprained Friday at home against Tampa Bay, having slid awkwardly into the Mellon Arena boards. He’s due to have an MRI on Monday.

But Captain Crosby’s Penguins did just fine without him in Montreal, Evgeni Malkin capping a tremendous game at centre on Pittsburgh’s first line with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

The Canadiens outshot their visitors 31-26.

Georges Laraque, leaving his Crosby bodyguarding duties in the Penguins dressing room, played a large role in getting the visitors onto the scoreboard, muscling his way behind the Canadiens net to feed Jeff Taffe in front of the Montreal goal. Taffe, having flipped in behind the Habs defence, flipped the passout behind goalie Cristobal Huet, who otherwise enjoyed a terrific game, at 6:14.

The Canadiens outshot the Penguins 9-6 in a spirited first period, Alex Kovalev foiled on a couple of excellent chances by Sabourin, the Val d’Or, Que., native who chose home-province ice on which to stone the Canadiens.

The Penguins carried the action to the Habs through the early half of the second. Huet made a couple of brilliant saves early, thwarting Sergei Gonchar after a spectacular rush by Malkin, and then, on a breakaway, Petr Sykora on a shot and quick rebound.

But Montreal would rally and finally outshoot Pittsburgh 17-9 for a 26-15 two-period edge, Sabourin flawless on everything coming his way.

The Canadiens killed three penalties through the first 50 minutes, including 1 1/2 in the third, an unsportsmanlike conduct minor to Tomas Plekanec spanning the second and third and a tripping minor to Mathieu Dandenault, which followed Plekanec’s penalty.

Montreal (24-15-8) had won two straight going into tonight’s game and dropped just one in regulation in their last 10, earning a record of 7-1-2. As usual, the Canadiens have shone on the road, winning six of those seven away from the Bell Centre. The Habs do enjoy foreign ice, 16-7-3 out of town this season and just 8-8-5 in Montreal.

The Canadiens are back in action Tuesday night at home to Boston, then play the Devils in New Jersey on Thursday, their final game before next weekend’s all-star break.

310 Comments

  1. TommyB says:

    Yeah, geez Jim, it might be a beautiful way to discourage gambling but schmucks like me are still laying down the green a couple of times a week with our government sponsored gambling schemes. You’d think a guy like me would learn, eh?

    You are right, any team can beat any team on any given night, and maybe I wouldn’t want it any other way. You want that element in sport. What fun would it be if you could just look at the schedule and mark off the wins or losses? How many games would people watch?

  2. Moey says:

    Psssst Chuck, (whisper) if I send you the pics in front of the pyramids, can you put a Habs jersey on me?

  3. Chuck says:

    Hear Hear! Ian is definitely one of the class acts around here. I can’t think of a person who better represents what it means to be a Hab fan!
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    ______________________________________________
    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  4. Chuck says:

    I’ve got leaf fan friends that order leafs TV and get a measly 13 games for the same price that I pay, and they think that they’re getting a good deal. Then I tell them that I get ALL of the Hab games, plus pre-season and playoffs (God willing!).

    Suddenly their “deal” doesn’t look so good.
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    ______________________________________________
    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  5. Chuck says:

    Thanks Moey! In honour of Mike Komisarek’s birthday, I decided to alter a photo of him to show the real Komisaurus Rex.

    I kind of like it. Maybe I’ll keep it for a while!
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    ______________________________________________
    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  6. Ed says:

    Spoken like a true hockey fan. We can be Canadiens’ fans, while still appreciating the talents of players on other teams. However, we know that not all fans can see beyond their favourite team. How can you not appreciate the players that you mention, plus a long list of others, both present and past?

  7. 24 Cups says:

    Hey Teach – I like it, make Halak the sacrificial lamb against Jersey and then have a well rested Huet play home and home against Washington after the all-star break. If we win tonight (and we should) then 8 out of 10 is possible. Glass half full!

    The Original 24 Cups

  8. Lee Hayes says:

    Thurston is inconsolable right now, with the realization that you are indeed involved.

    Go Habs Go

  9. Chuck says:

    Happy birthday, Mike! Eat those Penguins alive! I hear that they taste like chicken.

    Thought I’d change my photo in honour of the bug guy’s big day, too.
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    ______________________________________________
    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”


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