And so they continue…
The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins both had opportunities last night to close the door on their semifinal opponents. The Penguins were entering game 6, against the Montreal Canadiens with a 3-2 series lead and the Bruins have now lost two-straight, after grabbing a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Habs still fightin’
The Penguins knew going into last night’s game that they needed to take the crowd out of the game early and get to goalie, Jaroslav Halak. The Penguins did neither one and as a result, find themselves heading back to Pittsburgh for game 7, Wednesday night.
Just 1:13 into the game, Michael Cammalleri, a thorn in the Penguins side, scored his 10th goal of the playoffs and fifth of the series. Cammalleri is responsible for nearly half of his teams goals scored against the Penguins.
Cammalleri would add his second goal of the game, just past the halfway mark of the second-period, tying the game at 2-2. With goals 10 and 11 last night, Cammalleri takes over first place in the goals department, two ahead of San Jose’s Joe Pavelski.
There were other players that scored in the game besides Cammaleleri, but none seemed more magnified than his two goals.
The only goal that may have out-shadowed Cammalleri’s first goal would have been Sidney Crosby’s first goal of the series. Crosby knocked a puck out of mid-air at 7:22 in the first, to tie the game at 1-1. Crosby’s goal took some of the wind out of the Canadien faithful, but they continued to rally around their team.
When the first-period ended, the Canadiens could be thankful that the game was tied and that they had a guy like Halak in net; he faced 13 shots in the first period, compared to the six that his team shot.
The second-period started with Maxim Lapierre taking a two-minute minor penalty for holding, 2:00 minutes into the period. Remember Lapierre, he will be mentioned again. The Canadiens killed off the penalty and 20 seconds later, Roman Hamrlik got tagged for interference.
On the fourth penalty-kill, the Canadiens luck ran out. Kris Letang found the back of the net, firing a puck over Halak’s glove hand and giving the Penguins a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately for the Penguins, there was 34 minutes left to play in the game.
The Canadiens would go on a tear, scoring three consecutive goals, to take a 4-2 lead late in the third.
Nearly five minutes after Letangs goal, Cammalleri scored his second on a wide-open net, to tie the game at 2-2. Minutes later, Jaroslav Spacek, who hasn’t played in the last nine games, scored his first goal on a slap-shot, giving Montreal their second lead of the game. This time, the Canadiens would hold onto the lead.
Lapierre, remember him, increased his teams lead at 11:03 in the third on a great solo effort, after forcing a turnover at center ice. Lapierre’s goal gave the Canadiens a 4-2 lead and a decided advantage for the remainder of the game.
Pittsburgh pulled Fleury late in the third, to get an extra-attacker on the ice and it worked as Bill Guerin redirected a Sergei Gonchar shot past Halak to put the Penguins down by one, 4-3. The game would then end with the score still 4-3 and now the series will match tonight’s score, we just don’t know in whose favor.
Flyers soaring high
The Philadelphia Flyers aren’t ready to head on summer vacation just yet, in fact “game on!” The Flyers are two-wins closer to becoming the third team in history to battle back and win in seven, after losing the first-three games of the series.
Last night, the Flyers needed two goalies and Boston still couldn’t find the net avoid the shutout. Flyers goalis, Brian Boucher was taken out of the game minutes into the second-period, due to a few Boston players collapsing on Boucher in net.
Michael Leighton came in to replace Boucher, making his first playoff appearance and combined with Boucher to record the shutout. Boucher blocked nine shots through 24:31 and Leighton stopped the 14 that he faced.
Simon Gagne was once again in the lineup for the Flyers and he contributed in a big way, scoring two goals in under a ten minute stretch. Gagne’s first goal was of the power-play variety, after Boston’s Steve Begin got called for a two-minute boarding penalty.
A broken stick played a part in Gagne’s second goal, 6:48 into the third-period. Dennis Wideman was getting ready to play the puck off the boards, when his stick broke in half for no apparent reason. This allowed Gagne to take the puck and skate right past Wideman on his way to a break-away goal and a 4-0 Flyers lead.
Philadelphia was on their game last night and are now heading back to the Wachovia Center for game 6 Wednesday night.