Penguins 5 – Canadiens 4

With only two points separating the tied-for-first Canadiens and the second place Penguins in the Eastern Conference it was obvious that both teams were going to come to play good hockey. They did just that, the difference in the first period being that Pittsburgh work was turning into quality scoring chances while the Habs, despite good offensive zone pressure, were unable to get money shots on Danny Sabourin. The Pens, however, were able to convert twice as Ryan Whitney and Jarkko Ruutu gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period.

The Canadiens poured on the pressure in the second and an excellent effort by Sergei Kostitsyn to beat the Penguins defender to a puck behind Sabourin lead to a beautiful goal by Saku Koivu as he waited the Pittsburgh goalie out and cut the lead to 2-1. The Pens answered back, however, as Malone was able to capitalize on a scramble in front of Christobal Huet, making the score 3-1. The first powerplay of the game for the Habs saw Chris Higgins knock a perfect pass from EEEWFWF to bring Montreal to within one.

Michael Ryder, on a hot streak all of a sudden, scored 22 seconds into the third period to tie the game 3-3. The Canadiens’ continued pressure earned them a powerplay early in the period and they capitalized, getting a 4-3 lead on a goal by Roman Hamrlik following some beautiful passing on the rush. The Penguins tied the game when Malkin beat Huet on a powerplay and than took a 5-4 lead on a powerplay goal by Sergei Gonchar.

The Habs pulled Huet with a minute or so remaining but they weren’t able to pull the trigger, losing the Pittsburgh 5-4 in regulation.

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