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May 12, 2010
by trib


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Moore scores

Montreal’s Game 7 hero struck again.

Former Penguins center Dominic Moore — who scored the game-winning goal against the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of their first-round series — fired a shot from the top of the right circle to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead over the Penguins at 14:23 of the first period at Mellon Arena.

The play occurred with no one protecting the net, other than Fleury. Penguins defenseman Brooks Oprik was behind the cage, repeatedly hitting pest Maxim Lapierre into the backside of the goal.

May 12, 2010
by trib


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A poor start

After drawing a penalty that led to a Montreal goal only 32 seconds into the game, Sidney Crosby led a rush that turned into a two-on-one when Canadiens defenseman Hal Gill fell after colliding with partner Josh Gorges.

Crosby made an ill-advised pass to Max Talbot that Gorges got a piece of his stick on to break up the scoring chance.

The Penguins then got a break when Dominic Moore was called for goaltender interference after Marc-Andre Fleury blocked his breakaway and Maxim Lapierre’s rebound hit the right post.

What did the Penguins do?

Answer with one of the most putrid power-play performances we’ve seen in some time at Mellon Arena, one that saw Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bill Guerin lose the puck and let it cross the blue line. Letang later had a turnover that led to a Tomas Plekanec breakaway.

Despite giving up the first goal on the first shot he faced, Fleury has made several difficult saves so far.

Everyone else has looked lost.

May 12, 2010
by trib


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Uh-oh

Wait just a minute.

Seriously, just a minute.

Sidney Crosby was called for boarding Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges — who had his back to the Penguins captain — only 10 seconds into Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series at Mellon Arena.

Only 22 seconds later, the Canadiens took a 1-0 lead when Brian Gionta scored his sixth playoff goal by redirecting a backhand from the left circle by defenseman PK Subban.

It was the third time in the playoffs that Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury allowed the first goal on the first shot he faced.

And, to make matters worse, the Penguins got a penalty in the process.

Matt Cooke was called for high-sticking, keeping the penalty kill unit on the ice without one of its top performers. But the Penguins escaped that infraction without giving up another goal.

May 12, 2010
by trib


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A one-game series

The Penguins’ defense of their Stanley Cup championship comes down to this, a Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens to determine who goes home and who advances to the Eastern Conference final.

The fate of Mellon Arena depends on whether they win or lose.

Montreal has gone from eighth seed to forcing a Game 7.

The Canadiens already have won a seven-game series by clinching on the road, stunning the Washington Capitalsin the first round.
And the Habs have a shot at making historyin the Igloo.

When it comes to Game 7s, the Igloo doesn’t have a good record, but the Penguins believe they can overcome their past with their present cast.

The big question is, will the superstars shine or will there be an unlikely hero?

Follow the live blog at “Sitting Rinkside” tonight to for Game 7.

May 8, 2010
by trib


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Penguins beat Canadiens, 2-1, in Game 5 for 3-2 series lead

The Penguins got goals from defensemen Kris Letang and Sergei Gonchar and 59 minutes of shutout play by goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to beat Montreal, 2-1, in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal at Mellon Arena.
Michael Cammelleri scored a power-play goal on a 6-on-4 with 29.7 seconds left to erase Fleury’s shutout bid after the Penguins missed on a pair of empty-net attempts.
The Penguins have a 3-2 lead over the Canadiens in the best-of-seven series.
The defending Stanley Cup champions are now within one game of clinching their third consecutive trip to the Eastern Conference final.
Game 6 is at 7 p.m. Monday at Montreal’s Bell Centre.

May 8, 2010
by trib


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Malkin makes big mistake

With a 2-0 lead and the Penguins on a power play, Evgeni Malkin made the mistake of taking a bad penalty when he reacted to a non-call by hitting Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges in the face.
The roughing penalty put the Penguins in a 4-on-4 instead of a man-advantage, then the penalty kill when it should have been even strength.
The Canadiens were looking for defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron on the power play, and it’s no wonder. At today’s morning practice, Bergeron put a spider web in the glass behind the Penguins net with a slap shot.
Bergeron got his opportunity on a one-timer from the right point, but Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made a nice pad save to stop it.

May 8, 2010
by trib


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Gonchar gives Penguins 2-0 lead

Sarge stroked it.
Sergei Gonchar scored his second playoff goal, taking a feed from Brooks Orpik and firing a slap shot from the right point past Jaroslav Halak to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead over the Montreal Canadiens at 9:50 of the second period of Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal at Mellon Arena.
It marked the first-ever NHL playoff point for Mark Letestu, who got the secondary assist. It was the sixth even-strength goal for the Penguins in this series, although two came on empty-netters.

May 8, 2010
by trib


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Start your sticks

The second period has been a shootout.
The Penguins started the second period at a disadvantage, with Chris Kunitz in the penalty box after a cross-checking penalty in the 20th minute of the first period of their Eastern Conference semifinal with Montreal.
The Canadiens fired five shots on goal in the first 4:08, blistering Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with scoring attempts. Fleury responded with one fantastic save after another, going full butterfly to stop a Tomas Plekanec point-blank shot.
The Penguins responded with an assault of their own, and Jaroslav Halak was game. He made a pad save of a Matt Cooke wrister from the left circle and stopped Evgeni Malkin on a two-on-one breakaway with Sidney Crosby.
Fleury might have made the best save so far, blocking one shot with his chest and then flopping onto his stomach and swiping a loose puck out of the crease with the backhand blade of his stick.
After combining for 15 shots in the first period, the teams already have 30 attempts midway through the second.

May 8, 2010
by trib


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Letang PP goal gives Pens 1-0 lead

Kris Letang scored his fourth goal in 11 playoff games on a power play to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead over the Montreal at 18:18 of the first period of Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
That’s one more tally than he had in all of the regular season.
Evgeni Malkin set up Letang’s one-timer from the top of the left circle by dragging a defender across the middle and dumping a drop pass. With the help of a Bill Guerin screen positioned in front of defenseman Roman Hamrik, Letang beat goalie Jaroslav Halak high to his stick side.
The Penguins are now 7-of-16 on the man-advantage, a playoffs-best 43.7-percent conversion rate. It’s even more incredible considering Washington’s league-best power play went 1-for-33 against Montreal in the first round.
The Penguins outshot the Canadiens, 9-6, and took a one-goal lead into the first intermission, but a cross-checking penalty at the horn will put Chris Kunitz in the box to start the second period.
First-period highlights:
The Penguins pulled a surprise by using Crosby and Malkin together on the top line on their first shift – and again later in the period, with Kunitz on the left wing – in a move to generate some scoring.
The lines shook out to look mostly like this:
Kunitz-Crosby-Guerin
Pascal Dupuis-Malkin-Max Talbot
Matt Cooke-Jordan Staal-Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp-Mark Letestu-Craig Adams
= At 2:46 of the first period, Montreal got a scare when Halak extended his left leg to block a backhander by Rupp, then bowed his head on the ice. Halak appeared to be in pain, but never left the ice.
= Rupp and Guerin both missed the Game 4 defeat for undisclosed reasons, but returned for Game 5. Rupp returned with intensity, crashing the boards to set up Adams for a point-blank shot, but it took Guerin a few shifts to get going.
= At 6:10, Montreal got a second scare when Maxim Lapierre blocked a slap shot by Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik and then had difficulty getting back to the bench.
= The Penguins gave up a Michael Cammelleri breakaway after Crosby won a draw in the offensive zone when defensemen Alex Goligoski and Jordan Leopold froze and allowed the puck to slip between them. The Penguins got a break when goalie Marc-Andre Fleury turned away Cammalleri’s wrister.
= Montreal defenseman Hal Gill has helped keep Crosby without a goal this series, but the Penguins captain exacted a small measure of revenge with 5:40 left in the first period by catching him off balance after clearing the puck from his zone. Crosby threw a shoulder into Gill, knocking the 6-foot-7, 241-pounder backwards onto the ice.

May 8, 2010
by trib


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Ready for Game 5

The Penguins are getting ready for the opening face-off of Game 5, and they will do so with forwards Bill Guerin and Mike Rupp – a pair with a powerful net-front presence – back in the lineup and disappointments Ruslan Fedotenko and Alexei Ponikarovsky as healthy scratches.
The Penguins can only hope to improve their 2-3 playoff record at Mellon Arena, considering their 5-0 road record was snapped with a 3-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night at Bell Centre, which evened their Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2-2.
Part of the problem in Montreal is that Penguins captain Sidney Crosby hasn’t scored a goal at Bell Centre since his rookie debut there in 2006.
So the Penguins are trying to solve that slump for Crosby, who has gone five games without a goal.
For the Penguins’ four French-Canadians, Montreal was a mixed homecoming.
But they did enjoy the celebration of hockey in the boisterous playoff atmosphere at Bell Centre.

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