In this corner, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. In the visiting corner…well pretty much a Montreal Canadiens team made up of Bulldogs call ups.
Nonetheless, a Canadiens team battered and bruised squared off against Sidney Crosby and company and gave it their all.
Montreal kept pace in the shot count with the Penguins through the first twenty minutes with eight a piece.
The Penguins physical game would be the factor however as they out hit their opponents 19-11 in the period.
Crosby put Pittsburgh on the board at the midway point of the period when his shot tipped off Paul Mara’s stick and past Carey Price.
Bill Guerin made it 2-0, for the Penguins, at 6:41 of the second period. The goal was questionable as it appeared the referee had lost sight of the puck after it was in Price’s pads and trickled loose.
Crosby celebrates with Maxime Talbot -AP Photo
Ten minutes later, Crosby then set up a wide open Sergei Gonchar, who put the puck five-hole on Price, to give Pittsburgh a three goal lead.
Crosby’s assist was the 279th of his career, and moved him into the top ten all-time with the Penguins.
The Penguins held a 16-7 shot advantage over Montreal in the second period.
Max Pacioretty foiled Marc-Andre Fleury’s shutout bid, taking a perfect pass from Sergei Kostitsyn, seven minutes into the third period. It was Pacioretty’s third goal of the season.
Kostitsyn has an assist in each of the two games since his call up earlier this week.
Fleury stopped anything else that was directed at him, making 18 saves on the night.
Price, starting his seventh straight game, had 27 saves in a losing effort.
Pacioretty took a big hit later in the period from Mike Rupp and did not return to the ice.
“I got my bell rung a bit there,” Pacioretty said afterwards.
The Canadiens slip back to .500 hockey (12-12-1) and return home to face the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
Three Stars: 1. Sidney Crosby 2. Bill Guerin 3. Jordan Staal
Farewell to the Igloo: Barring any playoff encounters, it was Montreal’s last visit to the Mellon Arena,(oriinally called he Civic Arena).
The Canadiens finished with 44 wins, 33 losses and 14 ties at the igloo.