Home Pittsburgh Sports College Basketball Habs chase Fleury, beat Pens 3-0

Habs chase Fleury, beat Pens 3-0

Tomas Plekanec and Travis Moen scored in the opening minutes of the first and second periods, and Carey Price made 26 saves to blank the flat Penguins 3-0 on Saturday.

Montreal 3 – Pittsburgh 0
CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

In the weeks since Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were sidelined with long-term injuries, the Penguins have shown resilience and character against opponents, regularly performing far beyond expectation considering their depleted lineup. Their game against Montreal Saturday afternoon was not one of those occasions. Carey Price posted his eighth shutout of the season as the Canadiens spoiled the Penguins’ celebration of their 200th consecutive sellout with a 3-0 win at the Consol Energy Center. Tomas Plekanec, Travis Moen and Mike Cammalleri scored for the Habs, who chased starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the net at 6:51 of the second period, after three goals on 12 shots.

“There’s no excuses,” Penguins forward Matt Cooke said. “We know that just because they score a goal early, it doesn’t mean that we can’t win a game.”

Things seemed to start off promising for the Penguins in the opening period, as the starting line of Dustin Jeffrey, Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke immediately created a scoring chance with Jeffrey’s shot striking the goal post behind Price. The Habs scored shortly after that, however, off of a set faceoff play in the Penguins zone. After winning the draw to the right of the Penguins’ goal, Cammalleri dished the puck to the front of the net for Plekanec, who was able to backhand his 21st goal of the season past Fleury. Pittsburgh didn’t fare any better in the second frame, after a neutral zone turnover resulted in Moen’s goal just 24 seconds into the period.

“They didn’t have to work very hard to get those two goals,” Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma said. “It put us behind the eight ball.”

It was James Neal who had a chance to cut the Penguins’ deficit in half with his shot from just outside the crease on Pittsburgh’s first power play of the game. Price’s glove barely stopped Neal from scoring his second goal as a Penguin. As the 23-year-old winger explained, though, it was not missed chances alone that cost his team the game.

“We just came out flat,” Neal said. “It started with that first one, they got a quick goal on us and we couldn’t find that jump. We just didn’t come out and play our game.”

Bylsma opted to replace Marc-Andre Fleury with Brent Johnson when Penguin-killer Mike Cammalleri added the Habs’ third goal 6:27 after Moen scored.

“(Pulling Fleury) was to alter the course of the game,” Bylsma said. “I didn’t like where the team was at that point.”

Pulling Fleury did not alter the course of the game, however. Nor did Max Talbot’s fight with heavyweight Paul Mara 12:47 into the second period. Brent Johnson did give the home crowd a reason to cheer, though, when he made a miraculous save with the blade of his left skate to keep the game a reasonable 3-0 going into the third period.

Though the Pens held the Habs to only 2 shots, compared to the 10 they recorded, in the final 20 minutes, it was too little, too late for a team that is still looking for more consistent offense despite the recent additions of Neal and Alexei Kovalev. Bylsma did say, however, that he thought the line of Neal, Kovalev and Letestu was the most dangerous offensively during the game, and that they should be staying together for a while.

Paul Mara took a cross-checking penalty at 18:07 of the third period, putting Pittsburgh on a power play for the remainder of the game. At that point, Canadiens’ fans inside the Consol were already singing their ole’s, as the game was decided as soon as the Pens dug themselves into a three-goal hole.

Pittsburgh plays another afternoon home game Sunday at 3 p.m. against the Edmonton Oilers.

Notes:
The Penguins’ sellout streak, which includes post-season games, began on Valentine’s Day 2007, when the Pens played Chicago before a sellout crowd at Mellon Arena…The Consol Energy crowd booed every time P.K. Subban touched the puck
    
Three Stars
1. Carey Price; 2. Mike Cammalleri; 3. Tomas Plekanec

Score Sheet:
Goals:
MTL- Tomas Plekanec (21), Travis Moen (4), Mike Cammalleri (16)
Assists: MTL- Mike Cammalleri (22), Brian Gionta (13), Scott Gomez (27), Jeff Halpern (14)
Special Teams: PIT- 0-3; MTL- 0-2

In the Net:
PIT
: Marc-Andre Fleury (L) 12 shots, 9 saves; Brent Johnston 8 shots, 8 saves
MTL: Carey Price (W) 26 shots, 26 saves

Up Next:
The Penguins host the Edmonton Oilers Sunday at 3 PM. The game was originially scheduled to be played at 1 PM but has been moved to 3.

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