Once again, the Canadiens have surprised a superior opponent; after beating Washington in seven games they wrecked Pittsburgh’s chance to take a 3-1 series lead with an incredible third period last night in which they fired 16 shots (they’d managed just 18 in the preceding game) and scored twice, with the winning goal taking a lucky bounce off of a Penguin skate and into the net.
I’m not sure how much I’d blame Sidney Crosby for last night’s loss; he led the Penguins (and matched Habs leader Brian Gionta) with five shots and added an assist; it was a legitimate improvement over his Game Three effort. He has three assists and no goals in the series so far. Still, it’s hard for me to believe that Montreal knows how to consistently shut him down; he scored four goals in four games against them in the regular season and one supposes they were playing him the same way there.
I give Montreal full credit for limiting Crosby’s shots against so far in the series, but I wouldn’t be worried about it after only four games; Crosby’s five shots were the most he’s managed so far in a single game against the Canadiens and likely bode well for the rest of the series. That said, it’s a best of three now, and over a three game span the difference between Jaroslav Halak (0.924 reg. season save percentage, 0.934 playoff save percentage, 0.924 save percentage in this series) and Marc-Andre Fleury (0.905 reg. season save percentage, 0.896 playoff save percentage, 0.905 save percentage in this series) could very well turn out to be decisive.