Crosby leads Penguins Beyond Canadiens 3-1; Series tied 1-1


TORONTO (AP) — Any remnants of the Montreal Canadiens’ feel-good glow out of their series-opening overtime win over Pittsburgh were immediately dashed Monday night.

The fifth-seeded Penguins took advantage of a level offensive attempt from the Canadiens for a 3-1 victory that tied the best-of-five series at one game apiece.

Sidney Crosby and Jason Zucker overcome Montreal goalie Carey Price and Jake Guentzel included an empty-net aim. Montreal’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi finished Matt Murray’s shutout bid with two:09 left to perform with.

The Canadiens went 0 for 3 on the power play, handling just 1 shot with the man advantage.

“Our greatest players need to be our best players,” Montreal head coach Claude Julien said. “Tonight we had some guys that fought and lots of those men happened to be about the power play”

The 12th-seeded Canadiens delivered a 3-2 upset win on Saturday, but had been listless from the start in Game 2.

Crosby gave Pittsburgh a historical lead and Cost — by way Montreal’s greatest player — did well to maintain it a one-goal match until Zucker tallied with 5:19 left at the third. Cost was pulled following Kotkaniemi’s target for the excess attacker, but Guentzel secured the win with 9.1 seconds left.

Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday night.

“There is no fear,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said of the group. “They’re a certain group. They believe in one another and they command what they could.

“They are not likely to dwell on the past and they surely are not likely to have ahead of themselves”

The Penguins commanded the early offensive drama and Cost had to be eloquent straight off, denying Zucker afterwards that he was sent in only a couple of minutes into the match.

Pittsburgh maintained the strain and was rewarded when Guentzel’s cross-ice pass discovered Crosby streaking down the left wing. The Penguins captain snapped the puck between Price’s legs at 4:25.

It had been the 188th playoff stage of Crosby’s NHL career, moving him to an eighth-place tie with Joe Sakic and Doug Gilmour.

The Canadiens, who have been outshot 14-7 at the first phase, almost scored on a Brett Kulak wrap-around attempt midway through the stanza.

Pittsburgh’s Jared McCann dislodged the internet before Kulak flipped the puck over Murray’s shoulder. Following an overview, the officers determined it wasn’t a target.

Montreal came out with much more speed in the next phase, but could only afford a few decent opportunities. The best chance came after Jonathan Drouin found Joel Armia to get a goalmouth divert, but Murray created a brilliant glove save.

Cost, who produced 39 conserves in Game 1, stoned Kris Letang double on a scramble midway through the second phase. Murray had his minutes and delivered crucial saves when required.

Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 38-27.

“Clearly it was not our very best effort,” Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber stated. “They were the better team , but Carey gave us a opportunity.”

Since Montreal pushed for the equalizer in the next, Kulak got caught in the blue line to give Pittsburgh a 2-on-1 break. Conor Sheary broke down the side and also discovered Zucker before make it a two-goal match.

NOTES: Pittsburgh, the No. 5 seed in the East, again fought on the power play. The Pens were for 5, leaving them for 12 from the set. … Montreal, the No. 12 seed, was 0 for 3 with the man advantage. … A recorded version of”O Canada” has been conducted by Canadian country singer Brett Kissel. Contrary to the Sport 1 anthem, the rendition comprised a French verse. … Montreal outhit Pittsburgh 31-20.


Game 3 of this series is Wednesday night.


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