The Pittsburgh Penguins gave up their second loss of the season tonight by losing to the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 3-2. The Penguins were stymied on several good chances by the Canadiens 20-year old rookie netminder Carey Price who made 26 saves in his NHL debut tonight. The Canadiens put 35 shots on goal including 14 in the final period, and netted 3 against a struggling Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins came out looking strong and disciplined in the first frame, playing a very good defensive game. They held the Canadiens to just 5 shots in the first while putting up 9 shots of their own. Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury played a strong first period giving the impression that he had returned in game 3 a little closer to last year’s form. Nonetheless, the offense was unable to put one past the large-in-net rookie netminder of the Canadiens, despite two power play chances. The Penguins managed to stay out of the penalty box in the first, and the defense looked quite good at clearing the zone and moving the puck up the ice.
In the second, the Penguins drew first blood on the powerplay with a goal by Ryan Whitney at 7:08, his first of the year. Price was caught out of position, face down on the ice after being bowled over by a Sidney Crosby who had been pushed by defensemen Roman Hamerlik, which set up the opening for Whitney. Mark Recchi and Sidney Crosby were credited with the assists. The Canadiens bounced back with a powerplay goal of their own at 13:07 while Darryl Sydor sat for a minor hooking penalty, the 2nd and final penalty assessed to the Penguins tonight. The Canadiens goal was scored by Tomas Plekanec with assists by Markov and Streit. Less than four minutes later, the Canadiens made it 2-1 as Alexei Kovalev streaked down the right side and put the puck into the far side of the net past Fleury. Fleury was visibly upset by the goal, one that he had the angle advantage on and should arguably have stopped. Tomas Plekanec was credited with the lone assist. The Penguins went o-3 on the power play in the second, having their chances squashed by the solid play of rookie goalie Carey Price.
In the third, Montreal came out firing on all cylinders and were credited with an even strength goal by Andrei Markov at 2:51 on a nice cross-ice passing play from Koivu and Ryder that caught Fleury moving across the goal mouth. The Penguins closed the margin to one less than a minute later on an even strength goal by Maxime Talbot at 3:48. Talbot stuffed a beautful blind backhand feed from Malkin behind the net to the far side of Price. Mark Recchi was also credited with an assist, his second of the night. The Penguins poured on the heat in the latter stages of the period, but were unable to put the biscuit past Price for the tie. The Canadiens maintained the upper hand throughout the third, outshooting the Penguins 14-7. The Penguins had a better night on the face-off, winning 53%. With the win, Montreal has earned at least a point in each of its three games this season.
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