Pascal Dupuis put all he had into the puck when streaking down the left wing tied 2-2 in the third period.
Pittsburgh Penguins 3 — Montreal Canadiens 2
In other words, he used a mentality that had escaped the Penguins at times over the last week. His all was enough to will a fluttering puck in and out of Carey Price’s glove hand and give the Penguins a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish.
“(The puck) was a little bit on the edge so I just tried to hit it as hard as I could,” said Dupuis of his eighth goal of the season — a game winner in his hometown of Montreal. “I don’t know where it went. I think it went in his glove and behind him. But you know what, I’ll take it here in Montreal.”
Pittsburgh got off to a great start and received a little bit of late luck to earn the victory, improving to 21-10-1 on the season.
After Dupuis put the Pens ahead 3-2 with 6:39 left in the game the Canadiens had their opportunity.
With 5:52 remaining, a scrum developed in front of Marc-Andre Fleury as the puck trickled in to the crease. Fleury appeared to lose sight of the puck but found it at the last second and covered with his glove and blocker.
At the same time Scott Gomez slapped the puck in to the net and referee Chris Lee blew his whistle. The play was ruled dead and Montreal was not awarded the tying goal.
“That (was) a good break for us,” Sidney Crosby said. “Flower was going down to cover it.
“The whistle doesn’t have to blow — I think it’s the motion to blow it (that kills the play). It was the right call, but definitely a great bounce for us.”
Fleury admitted he wasn’t sure what happened in the quick sequence of events.
“I couldn’t see well because of my mask,” Fleury said, motioning his head downward. “I knew (the puck) was down there.
“I knew it was still moving a little bit. The ref saw (my) pad and blew the whistle.”
The remainder of the game went scoreless and Ruslan Fedotenko nearly got on the scoresheet for the first time in five games, missing an empty net on a diving effort.
Pittsburgh dominated play for most of the game, including the first period, which had become a problem area for the team as of late. The Penguins outshot Montreal 11-7 in the first and Sergei Gonchar scored in the slot off a backhanded saucer pass from Bill Guerin at the 6:38 mark to take a 1-0 lead in to the first intermission.
In the second, Montreal scored two goals roughly three minutes apart to take a 2-1 lead, but Matt Cooke deflected a shot from the point by Gonchar with 2:15 left in the period to tie the game, 2-2.
Pittsburgh outshot the Canadiens 15-8 in the second and did even better in the third, outshooting them 15-6. The shot advantage in the third was largely in part to three power play opportunities — none of which were successful.
“It was a lot closer than it probably could have been, but we did a good job of sticking with things and getting a big goal.” Crosby said.
Dupuis made the man-advantage struggles a non-factor with his team-described “knuckle puck” for the win.
“He’s got a great shot and we’ve seen that a couple times here over the past few years,” Crosby said. “It’s tough, he’s got a hard shot.
“You can’t really blame Price on that, that thing was moving.”
Chris | PPT