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Canadiens Complete Shocking Upset of Penguins, Win 2-0 in Game 4

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Artturi Lehkonen scored with 4:11 left in the third period, boosting the Montréal Canadiens a 2-0 win Friday in series-clinching Game 4 of their Stanley Cup qualification series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Habs’ Paul Byron set up the lone scoring play of what was mostly a plodding game, fighting through a hook to dish the puck to the net-front, where Lehkonen jammed it through a few sets of legs and in.

The Penguins, who entered this unprecedented 24-team summertime Cup tournament as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, lost a five-game series to the worst team to make the NHL postseason in modern history. Dating back to the end of their six-game loss to Washington two years ago, the Pens have dropped nine of their past 10 playoff games.

Tristan Jarry made his playoff debut for Pittsburgh and performed admirably, stopping 20 shots while taking over the crease from Matt Murray. But Carey Price prevailed over the series more than anyone, capping an impressive series with a 22-save shutout.

Playing on his 33rd birthday, Sidney Crosby was probably the Penguins’ best skater, as he was for the rest of the series. However, his three good chances misfired, including a drive off the crossbar with the game goal-less midway through the third.

The Penguins came out of the dressing room apparently convinced that the cautious route was the way to go after allowing four goals in Game 3 and falling behind in their first five-game series since the mid-1980s.

If so, that mission was accomplished, as the ‘visitors’ were noticeably more deliberate on the breakout, often reversing the puck and delaying until they found a lane into the neutral zone. They were successful in limiting turnovers, but they went through the first 20-plus minutes without a single high-danger scoring chance, per Natural Stat Trick accounting.

On the other hand, the Penguins had success choking off the Canadiens’ counterattack through two periods, allowing just 11 total shots on goal entering the third. The only moments of stress for Jarry involved wild caroms off the end boards and a couple of bouncing pucks in traffic.

Ironically, in a game played so tentatively, the Penguins got their best opportunity through 40 minutes off a glaring Habs mistake.

A botched line change handed Crosby and Guentzel a two-on-one rush from center ice, but Guentzel couldn’t gather Crosby’s quick pass until he was behind the net. He centered from there for Crosby, whose one-timer Price gobbled.

It seemed the type of game where special teams could break the ice, but the Penguins’ first power play — arriving in the in the latter half of the second — showed none of the renewed vigor the unit displayed in Game 3. Fortunately, Montréal again found no success against the stout Pens PK.

The start of the third signaled a jolt of attacking energy for both sides, starting with Byron’s slapper off the post from the left wing. Then Brendan Gallagher soared in for a short breakaway that Jarry denied with a sharp glove hand.

The Penguins had the next push, with Guentzel drawing a penalty and the top power play group working it around the zone with speed. However, the best chance went to Crosby, whose heavy blast from the slot rang the crossbar.

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A lifelong hockey addict, Matt has been fortunate enough to make his career in his sport of choice, working in high school, juniors, college and the pros in various multimedia roles. Previous to joining PHN, Matt was a credentialed Penguins/NHL beat reporter from 2016-18, including coverage of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. He contributes commentary and analysis here in various forms.

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Cal
Cal
1 year ago

Its time.

Katz
Katz
1 year ago

8/7/2020 = expiration date

Lynchie
Lynchie
1 year ago

Well that was pretty sobering. Need to get rid of old tired veterans and get some cheap, younger players who will put people through the boards and keep the play in the offensive zone with speed and grit. Malkin looked like normal taking penalties, not in position. A remake is in order with moving Rutherford out the veterans he has brought in don’t perform

David Heyl
David Heyl
1 year ago

Time for change starting at the top. Not one trade that made a difference in 3 years. The Midas touch is gone GMJR.

brando
brando
1 year ago
Reply to  David Heyl

except marino, petterssen, zucker?

Sean
Sean
1 year ago

8/7/1987 is a special date for the Penguins, but 8/7/2020 should mark the end of an era. The attitude of this team is like soured milk, it looks ok in the fridge, but awful when you smell it. Sid is still a fantastic player, and should be a part of this franchise until he retires. It’s been a great run over the past decade, but the team needs to begin building for the future and stop refinancing their mortgage on the remaining core players (not named Sid).

Ricardo58
Ricardo58
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Well said.

Katz
Katz
1 year ago

I am not happy to have been one perhaps the only in Pgh to have predicted this on these pages . Most everyone was saying Pgh sweep or Pgh in 4. This series was lost after the Islanders sweep. No major changes as was threatened. In fact they added Kennywood’s ”Howdy Doody’ , Conor Sheary for an encore. Added 40 year old Patrick Marleau. Stubborn Sullivan got rid of Ian Cole for no reason and GMJR got rid of Haglan for , drum roll please….Tanner Pearson. Reaves sent away lost Sundqvist and a First Round pick , gave St Louis… Read more »

brando
brando
1 year ago

Marleau was invisible. McCann, ditto. Sheary was hit or miss, he is not a 1st line wing. I cringe 90% of the time Johnson is on the ice. Schultz actually looked worse then Johnson. The team looked rusty and out of sync. The stars looked old. Around the league, the younger and faster teams are playing better, the same teams that start out hot but fizzle out over the grind of a full season. The penguins are built for the grind, and the intensity of the playoffs, and this format wasn’t in their favor. They looked like they didn’t want… Read more »

Frank
Frank
1 year ago

Always best not to do a knee jerk reaction to a win or loss. As for this. . . the results say plenty. In a sense the Canadians did fans here a huge favor. If this was a struggle imagine what was awaiting this team in the next round. Maybe they will get lucky in the draft! Their chances there are about 12% which is multiples better than what would have happened against a top 4 team.

wvstarship
wvstarship
1 year ago

Just don’t see how GMJR and Sully can be retained. This was an complete fail and neither has anything left to offer this organization-except their resignations. Sid is the only player that should be untouchable.

The window has closed, it’s time to rebuild under new management.

Ricardo58
Ricardo58
1 year ago

I distinctly recall the end of the Steelers era from the 70s dynasty. As the Steelers entered the 80s the hope was always to catch lightning in the bottle for another Super Bowl. Bradshaw’s elbow injury put an end to that. I view this Pens team in the same way. It’s over. Build around 87. All other players are fair game to stay or be moved. Imagine the MAF style tribute given to 58 or 71 on their return to Pittsburgh to play against the Pens. Hahahahahaha. Go Pens.

Joe Pietropaolo
Joe Pietropaolo
1 year ago

IMO when watching the games, I didn’t see that team sense of urgency and hunger. There were moments but not consistently. Montreal played the team game better and deservedly won the series. As far as trades and allowing free agents to leave, we as fans can only speculate. I, too, miss players like Ian Cole, Nick Bonino… I also don’t understand how the powers that be gave up on some players. Can’t be a top 6 forward playing bottom 6 minutes and with lesser talented lineages. The constant line shuffling is annoying as well. Is it just me or has… Read more »

Jeffrey Knipple
Jeffrey Knipple
1 year ago

It is probably time to look for a coaching change to bring new innovation and excitement to play. Appears teams have our schemes and tendencies figured out (i.e. Islanders last year), sure felt like I was watching last year’s embarrassment as it looked like Montreal just followed the Islander’s game plan against it. Where was the ‘counter move’ to force Montreal to come out of their scheme? Where was some excitement from youth like Rodriguez and Lafferty, instead of invisible players like Marleau and Sheary. Then you chain McCann at Center with slow invisible players. Where was Jarry at game… Read more »

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