Overall the Penguins started strong. They matched the physical play of the Canadiens during the first period and overall they were flying on the ice. Under Johnston they are playing with a confidence that has not been seen since the 2009 Cup run.
Bennett intercepted a bad pass to make it 1-0 Penguins. If he can stay healthy it’ll mean huge things for the Penguins. The person that would benefit the most from this would be Brandon Sutter and this is shaping up to be exactly what the coaches had wanted during the pre-season. Shortly after this Bennett found Letang who fed Downie for the goal. 2-0 Penguins.
The Canadiens had some quality chances which is something I expected given the talent on their team but Fleury stood strong. Another beautiful chance for Bennett with under 3 minutes left in the first. Kid. Was. Flying. Tonight. Shots 11-7 Penguins.
Bennett sent a beautiful pass to Sutter. The result? 3-0 Penguins. 3 points so far for Bennett. If he can stay healthy this line is going to be huge for the Penguins Another thing that was lacking so much in the past few seasons. The 2009 Cup run featured a strong third line centered by Staal who produced when the top two couldn’t. Malkin and Crosby can’t possibly be on every night. Someone needs to be there when they are off.
Spaling had a beautiful chance five minutes into the period. I will hear that “ding” in my dreams. First penalty of the game came halfway through the second. Spaling was called for holding. Massive PK for a Penguins team that has barely faltered on it since a rough start.
Malkin took a hooking penalty with a little over 3 minutes left in the third. Seemed like a weak penalty to me considering I had seen massive amounts of interference and hooking on Crosby tonight without a call. Regardless another ridiculously strong kill by the Penguins.
Finally a slash against the Canadiens to send the Penguins to the PP with a little under 1 minute left. Goal Sidney Crosby, 4-0 Penguins.
A tripping penalty to Martin early in the third forced the Penguins to protect their lead against a team that is known for comebacks. The Penguins killed it regardless of a few strong opportunities for the Canadiens. Fleury has been standing tall so far this season to the relief of fans and it’s beautiful to see.
It was a period filled with some great opportunities by the Canadiens but the Penguins managed to hold it together for the remainder of the game. Overall it was strong defensive showing for the Penguins but the Canadiens are not a team that will be denied of quality scoring chances. Regardless Fleury posted a shut out. It’s also worth noting the amount of blocked shots by the Penguins. Very impressive
It's not as if this game was easy for the Penguins. The score does not tell the story of it at all. The Canadiens are a strong team and had some great chances. At the end of the day, Fleury was the difference maker on those chances.
It is important to go back and once again note the confidence the Penguins are playing with. They have never lacked talent but rather now have added players that were needed and have an enjoyment for the game that had been lacking. If they can continue at this pace, and stay healthy, I believe there is not a team that could take them seven games.