For the final 35 minutes of game 7 in the playoff series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, the Penguins outscored the Canadiens 2-1. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, they were outscored 4-0 in the first 25 minutes. After shocking the world by eliminating the President’s Trophy winning and #1 seeded Washington Capitals in the first round of the NHL playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens followed up by eliminating the defending Stanley Cup Champions in their own building.
It didn’t take long for Montreal to get on the board, as they took advantage of an early Sidney Crosby penalty when Brian Gionta put the first puck in the net just 32 seconds into the game. Dominic Moore added to the lead with 5:27 left to play in the first period when he fired a quick turnaround shot that made it 2-0. The all out assault continued in the second period when left wingers Mike Cammalleri and Travis Moen beat Penguins’ goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, resulting in Fleury being pulled from the game.
The Penguins, back against the wall, started to find a little offense of their own. About three minutes after Moen’s goal, Chris Kunitz dumped in a goal to finally get the Penguins on the board. The rally continued when Jordan Staal cut the lead in half with 3:30 left to play in the second. Pittsburgh then had several great opportunities to pull within a goal, but Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak continued his brilliant playoff run by saving several would-be goals. Brian Gionta scored again 10 minutes into the 3rd period to seal the win for the Canadiens.
The fans in Mellon Arena, which is scheduled to be destroyed later this summer, were shocked at the fashion in which their Penguins were ousted from Stanley Cup contention. Sentiment that was also expressed by the Penguin players. “They played better and, unfortunately, we did not play well,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Defenseman Kris Letang described the opening 25 minutes as “awful.” Perhaps the ending was fitting, as Montreal also defeated the Penguins in their Mellon Arena (then called Civic Arena) debut in 1967. The Canadiens will now move on to play the winner of the series between the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals.
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