It was a hockey night in Pittsburgh once again as the Penguins welcomed the Montreal Canadiens back to the Consol Energy Center. Having won 12 in a row, the Pens were looking to march on to victory number 13 while the Habs, for their part, were looking to rebound from a weekend loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Tonight’s game would see the introduction of Brenden Morrow as a Penguins after he was acquired from the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Kris Letang would also return to the lineup.
Through the first twenty, neither team would capitalize on any scoring opportunities, failing to earn a goal (obviously) and failing to earn an advantage for either side. Two and a half minutes into the period, Tyler Kennedy and Gabriel Dumont dropped the gloves, each earning themselves a five minute time out. Montreal would apply pressure but Marc-Andre Fleury would come up strong, denying them any opportunity to be the first to light up the board. Play would continue back and forth and after 20 minutes of play, shots were 10 to 5 in favour of the Canadiens.
Early on in the second, it appeared as though Montreal’s Michael Ryder had scored a goal. However, the goal lights did not go off and as such, play continued on. Ryder’s luck continued to run afoul when, moments later, he was whistled for a penalty. The Penguins couldn’t capitalize but would return the favour when Mark Eaton was called for a delay of game. Montreal came close again, but Fleury put the kibosh on a sneaky chance by Andrei Markov much to the delight of fans who were quick to chant the goalie’s name. With less than seven minutes left to play in middle frame, it was Sidney Crosby with a beautiful snipe past Carey Price’s blocker following a beautiful breakout pass from Chris Kunitz. Before the end of the period, Craig Adams would take a puck to the face, sending him down the runway. Brenden Morrow followed closely thereafter. However, the scariest moments of the game just before the clock ran down when Brian Gionta sent a crashing Tyler Kenendy into Marc-Andre Fleury, knocking the net-minder to the ground and making contact with his head. Fleury appeared to be shaken up and was attended to by the athletic trainer. He finished off the period. Heading into the final frame, the Penguins led 1 to 0, despite continuing to be outshot.
Tomas Vokoun led the Penguins on to the ice for the third period following Fleury’s shakeup. Adams and Morrow both returned to the bench as well. Thirty-one seconds into the period, Matt Cooke was whistled for roughing after he attempted to provide some reproach for insult to Gionta. Pittsburgh killed the penalty off without a problem. Three and a half minutes later, it was PK Subban heading to the box for interference. Montreal, like Pittsburgh, had no problems killing off the man advantage. Play would continue to ping-pong through the period, and with 0:54 left in regulation, Price would be pulled in favour of the extra attacker. Montreal continued to press Vokoun but he stood his ground. With 29.2 seconds left, Montreal elected to use their timeout. It was to no avail. Pittsburgh would take game number 13 IN A ROW – continuing their streak.
Paul Martin led all skaters with 25:12 of ice time while Kris Letang followed with 24:20. Sidney Crosby sent 6 shots toward Carey Price while Chris Kunitz had four of his own. Overall, the Penguins sent 25 shots toward Price while the goal-tending duo of Fleury and Vokoun faced and stopped 37 shots in total to share the shutout. In his first game in the black and gold, Brenden Morrow had 12:55 of ice time.
The Penguins continue to be without Evgeni Malkin, still sidelined with an upper-body injury. Marc-Andre Fleury did not return to the bench.
The Penguins next game is Thursday when the Winnipeg Jets roll into town. Game time is 7:00pm.