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Metropolitan Division (NHL)

Canadiens Shock Penguins in Overtime

Bryan Rust. Photo by Michael Miller. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)

The Pittsburgh Penguins were heavy favorites heading into Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario. Pittsburgh played well but not well enough as defenseman Jeff Petry scored the game-winning goal with 6:03 remaining in overtime helping Montreal take down Pittsburgh 3-2 in Game 1.

The goal was assisted by Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault. This was a crazy game. Earlier in the overtime session, Jonathan Drouin had a chance to end it for Montreal on a penalty shot, but wasted the chance by losing control of the puck near the net.

There was another penalty shot with 3:02 remaining in regulation. Conor Sheary took the shot and just missed for the Penguins. This was the first time since 1923 that there were two penalty shots taken in one postseason game. 

Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored the first goal of the game for the Montreal Canadiens just 11:27 into the contest. His goal was assisted by Paul Byron and Brett Kulak. 

Almost seven minutes into the second-period, Montreal took a 2-0 lead on a beautiful shot by Nick Suzuki beating Matt Murray’s glove side.

Just a few minutes later in the second-period, Sidney Crosby was behind the net, shot the puck off of Carey Price’s skate and scored. It cut the lead to a single goal. 

With 6:22 remaining in the second-period, Bryan Rust tied the game at two on the power play. He was in front of the net making life uncomfortable for Carey Price who finished with 39 saves for the Montreal Canadiens. Matt Murray made 32 saves himself for the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

The power play struggled big time finishing 1-for-7 in the game. This was a big problem for them all season and it still has not been resolved. They had a 5-on-3 in the third-period and it looked lethargic. They also had a power play early in overtime, but could not seem to get a rhythm going. 

The Penguins have not been the same on the power play since Rick Tocchet left to become the Arizona Coyotes head coach after the 2017 season. I believe Mark Recchi should be stripped of his power play duties and should be let go if they don’t get past this round.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Head Coach Mike Sullivan will switch to Tristan Jarry in net for Game 2. The Pittsburgh Penguins have now lost their last seven postseason games dating back to 2018. The last time they won a playoff game was in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2018 playoffs against the Washington Capitals 3-1.

We will see what adjustments are made heading into Game 2. Pittsburgh was swept in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season against the New York Islanders and the Penguins certainly want to avoid that route this season once again. 

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