Sunday, February 04, 2007

Game #52 - at Montreal Canadiens

Pittsburgh Penguins (26-17-8, 60 pts) at Montreal Canadiens (28-19-6, 62 pts)

Sunday is the rematch. In case you missed it (and I'm not sure how you could have), the Pens beat the Habs in a shoot out on Thursday. The game had something for everyone, with skating, fists, scoring and a shoot out. Army plastered Koivu, which led to Souray's ejection when he instigated against Army. Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said the following about it (via ESPN):

"I know it was legal, he hit him with his shoulder, but when a guy's battling one-on-one and (another) guy comes from a blind spot and hits him, I don't like that. It should have been called. And I don't see how they got seven minutes on the power play out of that.

"It was definitely a cheap shot, I'm not afraid to say it."

I know a coach is supposed to stand up for his team, but a cheap shot? You're kidding, right? How about every time Sheldon Souray goes in high with his fists, elbows or the butt end of his stick on someone around the boards? I can vividly remember seeing that more than a few times when I was sitting right along the boards at a game last year. Maybe my sample size isn't representative... but I'm guessing Mr Souray's team-leading 105 penalty minutes aren't all for bad skating skills.

Both teams played on Saturday, with opposite results. The Pens played a road-style game at home against the Caps and won. The Habs lost at home to the Isles. I hope the Pens got used to that style of play - they're going to need it.

Fleury will get the start in goal against the Habs. He's hot right now. He's going to need to stay hot.

The Habs are a different team at home (16-8-3) than they are on the road (12-11-3). They've
been hot and cold on the special teams lately, with cold carrying the majority in the last few games. The Pens got to the Canadiens for 3 power play goals, while allowing none. Of course, they also allowed the Habs to net two shorties. That will have to be corrected (the Canadiens have 15 shorties on the year, which seems like a remarkable number).

Canadiens blog - I'll cite two:
  • Habs blog - which has the most recent post (as of this writing) complaining about the bad officiating on Thursday versus the Pens. We can identify with their frustration.
  • Weekly Hab-its - they have a great post about why Pittsburgh should not lose it's hockey team. I'm a sucker for a mushy story about the home town.
I'm looking for an intense, well played game with limited funny business. I think these guys will put all of the revenge ideas out of their heads when the respective coaches remind them that the playoffs are on the line. The Pens can tie the Habs with two points in regulation.

Let's Go Pens!

No comments: