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.


  1. Chuck says:

    I’m liking your optimism, Teach!

    “A banner for Vezina must hang from the rafters!”

  2. The Teacher says:

    Always traffic on the 401

  3. Smart Dog says:

    We can always hope!

    I saw a great looking woman last summer who had a Habs crest tatoo on her lower back. That’s either a genuine fan or just one thoughtful lady!!

    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne

  4. The Teacher says:

    Well, we “should” be able to pick up 8 of the next ten points. Those are my expectations.

    and no, I don’t think I’m over-reaching.

    give Halak the start against NJ.

  5. JF says:

    Teams wanting a #1 goaltender might hesitate to sign Huet because he hasn’t proven that he can handle it; the most games he’s played in a season is 42. He gets injured, and when he has a heavy workload, he starts letting in soft goals. This could play in our favour when it comes to re-signing him. But you’re right that his performance lately might ease some of the doubts about his durability and thus increase his market-value.

  6. The Teacher says:

    Haha! i get your point, and yeah it might confuse him a bit. All I can say is
    -I loved how Dino Ciccarelli would stand in front of the net and take a beating (Think of him as a much better present day Tomas Holmstrom) and he did get over 600NHL goals.

    -Mike Gartner was awesome, built like a tank and speed, just pure speed (He also did have over 600 NHL goals).

    -Paul Coffey, speed to kill and offensive talents in his prime that rivaled Bobby Orr (He didn’t play too much when he tried to match his Goals record for a defence-man due to his coach at the time).

    -Ryan Smyth…Captain Canada is all I can say. I am disgruntled that he didn’t sign with us, but I won’t take him off my favorites just because of that. work ethic, and grittiness.

    -Crosby….Best player in the game….and I don’t think he is a cry-baby like some believe. He gets hit on purpose because he is the best, didn’t Lemieux complain for years about the hooking and grabbing? Don’t know if anyone said he was a cry-baby then?

    I might also say that, whenever any of these non-Montreal players would be playing the Habs, I hoped they would not get any points in that game. ;) My loyalty is true.

  7. JF says:

    But in the shoot-out, he stood up more, and it seems to me that generally speaking, he isn’t going down as much. Also, recovering the way he did from that gaffe and winning his first shoot-out this season should be great confidence-builders.

  8. 46_14_27 says:

    It had to happen sometime. How many times has he thrown caution to the wind to make a play on goal. Sometimes he scores before he goes crashing into the boards and sometimes not. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still the best in the business.
    As far as tonite goes, the Habs had best not take the Penguins lightly cause he’s not there. Malkin and the boys will be trying harder than ever to make up for him.

    Anyone get tonites line up yet?
    Is Carbo leaving the lines alone for another nite?

    The only change I would make would be sit Smolinski and get Begin back in.

    Habs Forever

  9. Ed says:

    I did. How can you have so many non Montreal players as your favourites? You must be an unbiased hockey observer. I might even direct Cage Rattler, or whatever his handle is, to your profile. He will not be able to understand how you, a Montreal fan, could cheer for other players. It might be a way to rattle his cage. lol

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