Round 2, Game 7: Eastern final, here we come

Canadiens’ Michael Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, P.K. Subban
and Scott Gomez celebrate a goal against the Penguins during Game 7 Wednesday night.
Allen McInnis, The Gazette

Preview | Matchups | Wednesday’s NHL schedule | Boone’s Game Blog and About last night … | Stubbs on Twitter | Hickey’s game story | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

AUDIO: Mike Cammalleri | Hal Gill I and II | Scott Gomez | Jaro Halak I and II | Jacques Martin | Tomas Plekanec

• At a Glance: For the first time since 1993, the Canadiens are headed to third round of the NHL playoffs after ousting the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-2 win Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Montreal struck early when Brian Gionta scored only 32 seconds into the game with Sidney Crosby in the penalty box for the Penguins. Gionta tipped a P.K. Subban pass that slipped passed Penguins goalie Marc-André Fleury. Dominic Moore made it 2-0 14:23 into the period when he took advantage of a Pittsburgh turnover and fired a wrist shot that eluded the outstretched leg of Fleury. The Canadiens built a 4-0 lead early in the second period on goals by Michael Cammalleri, his 12th of the playoffs, and Travis Moen with a shorthanded marker. Moen’s goal was the last shot Fleury would see on this night, replaced by Brent Johnson. The Penguins got a pair of goals before the end of the second period when Chris Kunitz and Jordan Staal beat Jaroslav Halak. And while the Canadiens didn’t test Johnson much, Gionta scored his second of the game on the power play exactly 10 minutes into the third period for a 5-2 Montreal lead. The loss marks the last game at Mellon Arena, otherwise known as the Igloo, which opened with a loss to the Canadiens in 1967.

• Key Moments: Halak made some monster saves at the start of the third period during two Pittsburgh power plays, preserving what was a two-goal lead at the time. Halak was, once again, a major reason why the Canadiens were able to pull off the upset.

• What It Means: For the second series in a row, the Canadiens have ousted one of the NHL’s best teams, eliminating the Penguins 4-3 after sending the Washington Capitals to the golf courses a few weeks ago.

• What’s Next: Against all odds, the Canadiens are off to the Eastern Conference final against either the Boston Bruins or Philadelphia Flyers.

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