TORONTO — Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin kicked the puck to Conor Sheary who poked it past a pinching defenseman. Sheary and Jason Zucker executed a perfect two-on-one as Zucker (1) neatly tucked Sheary’s pass behind Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price with only a few minutes remaining in the game.
It was the Penguins second goal of the game and provided the necessary margin as the Penguins hung on to beat Montreal 2-1 in Game 2 of the best-of-five Qualifying Round series.
Montreal rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi (2) buried a rebound chance with two minutes remaining, and the Penguins breathing room was gone. However, Penguins winger Jake Guentzel scored the empty netter with 10 seconds remaining for the 3-1 win.
The Penguins scored the important first goal.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby provided the big moment in the first period. Crosby beat Joel Armia into the Montreal zone, accepted a nifty cross-ice pass from Jake Guentzel, and bore down on Price, alone. Then Crosby (2) slipped the shot through Price’s five-hole, and the Penguins had a much-needed lead.
The Penguins again outshot Montreal and controlled the puck, though it was a choppy period with multiple and overlapping penalties from both teams. The Penguins had seven shots in a few short burst power plays, though they failed to score or generate many second chances.
Patric Hornqvist returned to the top power-play unit and his work paid dividends, at least in terms of creating chaos and havoc in front of Montreal goalie Carey Price.
Montreal began the second period with a pair of chances, but then Penguins again dominated the second period. The Penguins had seven shots on the power play in the first period and seven man-advantage shots more in the second. Bodies were strewn about the crease as Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist did what he does best. On several occasions, one of those bodies also belonged to Hornqvist.
Montreal goalie Carey Price was again brilliant. He stopped several Grade-A chances, including Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker in the slot. Price also managed to find the puck in several net-front scrums as the Penguins crashed the net.
However, the Penguins failed to score. Overall, the Penguins led 29-13 in shots after 40 minutes. However, they also led only 1-0.
Montreal forced Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray to be on his crease in the third period. After only sparing chances in the first two periods, Montreal had most of the shots and chances for more than 10 minutes into the third.
Murray made 27 saves on 28 shots. He was otherwise solid when tested. Price kept Montreal in the game despite the 40-minute onslaught by the Penguins. Price stopped 35 of 37 shots.
Evgeni Malkin led all players with seven shots. The Penguins power play was 0-4, but the Penguins generated 14 shots. Patric Hornqvist was back on the top unit and was a disruptive presence in the crease, to say the least.
PHN will update the story after media availability at Scotiabank arena