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Title - Hockey is Canadien
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Follow Me on TwitterDean Eastman is the Montreal Canadiens' correspondent for OurHometown.ca Dean was born in Cornwall and raised in Long Sault and has been a loyal Habs fan since the days of the Pocket Rocket and the Roadrunner. He now calls Whitby, Ontario home to his wife Heather and young son Eric. Dean is passionate about his hockey, whether it be from the junior or professional ranks. Dean will provide current news and views on the Montreal Canadiens' organization from a global perspective. If you have questions or wish to contact Dean, you can email him at deastman@ourhometown.ca
Canadiens go toe-to-toe with Penguins and break a nose in overtime loss
Dean Eastman
OurHometown.ca

Hockey is Canadien
Canadiens go toe-to-toe with Penguins and break a nose in overtime loss
The on-ice officials non-stoppage in play during the overtime period when Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Carey Price had closed his glove on the puck really was a moot point. The Canadiens’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night was inevitable.
PHOTO CREDIT - NHL.com

Whitby - November 27, 2011 - The on-ice officials non-stoppage in play during the overtime period when Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Carey Price had closed his glove on the puck really was a moot point. The Canadiens’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night was inevitable.

The Canadiens deserved to lose this game in the overtime period as a result of the Max Pacioretty hit on Kris Letang late in the third period. At the 16:46 minute mark of the third, Penguins all-star defenseman Kris Letang was levelled by a Max Pacioretty blind-sided hit to the head. The thunderous collision left Letang bloodied with a broken nose and in the Penguins dressing room for repairs. Surprising enough with all the hype and hoopla over concussions and brain injuries this season, the officials did not even call a minor penalty on the play.

NHL director of player discipline, Brendan “Sheriff Shanny” Shanahan will surely be reviewing the tapes of the hit. Pacioretty can expect to receive some time off as a result of the illegal hit.

To Pacioretty’s credit, he did skate over to Letang and apologized after the whistle. Letang was noted as saying he appreciated the apology. Even if the hit wasn’t, the on-ice apology by Pacioretty was a classy move on the power forward’s part.

The contest between the Eastern Conference leading Penguins (14-6-4) and the Canadiens (10-10-4) was an action packed affair and great goaltending was displayed by both Marc-Andre Fleury (win, 24 saves, .889 save percentage) and Carey Price (loss, 38 saves, .905 save percentage).

Evgeni Malkin scored the game’s first goal at 21 seconds of the opening frame. Things looked bleak for Montreal as Pittsburgh has one of the league’s most potent offence. However, a little more than a minute later, Montreal’s own sniper, Travis Moen scored his eighth goal of the season to tie the contest at one.

Pacioretty would score Montreal’s second goal at 7:37 of the first period, giving Montreal a 2 - 1 lead heading into the first intermission. Erik Cole gave Montreal a 3 - 1 lead at 11:09 of period two, but Pittsburgh dug deep down and stormed back with two unanswered goals (Pascal Dupuis, Jordan Staal) over the remaining 28 minutes to send the contest into overtime.

At 2:09 of extra time, Kris Letang, who had recently returned to the game after receiving repairs in the Penguins’ infirmary dislodged the puck from Carey Price’s glove and left pad and wristed the game winner past Price.

“I had the *&$!ing thing covered” expressed an unusually emotional Price to reporters in the post-game scrum. Price was furious and rightly so. The game winning goal by Letang did come with some controversy however. Rule 8.3 of the NHL official rules states that “…a player who has blood on his equipment shall be ruled off the ice at the next stoppage of play…it is required that any affected equipment be properly de-contaminated or exchanged…”. One only has to take a quick look at Letang’s jersey to easily notice the jersey was never changed after the broke nose suffered by the Pacioretty hit-blood was strewn across the front and shoulder of his number 58 Penguins’ jersey.

Game Summary
STATS & PHOTO CREDIT - NHL.com
The controversy was disbanded as it was discovered that the NHL officials accepted the jersey as being clean-still questionable in this writer’s opinion. The jersey looked like it had been borrowed from the television crew of Dexter as it was dirty from blood spatter.

With all of this being said, the duo of Sidney Crosby (one assist) and Evgeni Malkin were dominant throughout the match.

What is concerning to many a Habs’ fans stems the fact that slow-footed Hal Gill and the diminutive and skiddish Yannick Weber were on the ice for both the game’s tying goal and the overtime winner.

The announced three stars of the game were Carey Price (3rd star), Erik Cole (2nd star, two points, five shots on goal, plus+2) and Kris Letang (1st star, game winning goal, six shots on goal and one broken nose).

On the positive side for Montreal (besides Carey Price) on Saturday night was the performance of their centermen who won 63% of the faceoffs against Pittsburgh. David Desharnais went 13-for-21 (.619 winning faceoff percentage), Lars Eller went 15-for-21 (.714), Petteri Nokelainen (.714) and Tomas Plekanec went 10-for-18 (.556). Alexei Emelin continues to impress on Montreal’s blueline as he led the team with four hits.

Scott Gomez and Frederic St. Denis were scratched for the Pittsburgh contest. The Canadiens next play on Wednesday night for the beginning of a three-game Western road trip versus the Anaheim Ducks. Game time is 10:00 p.m. EDT. Let us hope Max Pacioretty does not get suspended for more than two games as a result of the blind-sided hit on Kris Letang.

Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…


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