Endgame: Penguins 3, Canadiens 1
Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 10:43 PM ET / News
By Michelle Crechiolo
Pens-Habsp In-Game Blog
Pens vs. Habs Scouting Report
Everything you need to know about the Penguins' 3-1 win over Montreal:
ASHES TO ASHES
Penguins winger Arron Asham celebrated a milestone against Montreal, playing in his 700th career NHL game. And he made it even more memorable by scoring Pittsburgh’s third goal on a beautiful play.
Deryk Engelland took a shot from the side of the net. The puck hit off goalie Carey Price and popped into the air and Asham batted the puck with some hand-eye coordination that would make Albert Pujols jealous.
To add a little drama, the NHL reviewed the play to make sure Asham’s stick wasn’t above the crossbar. After review, they deemed the goal good.
“That was all luck,” Asham said. “Actually I thought they were going to call it back, but Toronto probably felt sorry for me. It was nice that I got it.”
“It’s good to get that first one and now the flood gates are going to open for me,” Asham jokingly added. “Look out.”
For an interesting note, Asham has come full circle in his 700th game. His first career game was Nov. 28, 1998 as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, the team that drafted him in the third round of the 1996 NHL draft, against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“It’s been quite the career starting off against the Penguins and playing my 700th with them,” he said. “I hope to finish my career off here and reach that 1,000 mark. I’m still a few games away. I hope to stay healthy and help this team win.”
FLEURY'S STRONG SHOWING
It’s always special for Quebec native Marc-Andre Fleury to play against his boyhood Canadiens. And he put on a performance that would have made Patrick Roy and Ken Dryden proud.
Fleury stopped 27 total shots against Montreal in the contest to pick up the victory.
“I felt good,” Fleury said. “I had a lot of help from my teammates. The guys blocked shots for me and cleared the front. It was a great win.”
Fleury was particularly strong early, stoning Erik Cole on a one-timer in the slot and stopping a shorthanded breakaway chance by Mathieu Darche in the opening six minutes of the game to keep it scoreless.
Even though his shutout bid was ended in the 58th minute, Fleury still deserves much credit and recognition for a brilliant performance between the pipes.
“It seems to not come around too often so I was hoping for one,” he said. “We still got the win, that’s all that matters.”
Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik and forward Dustin Jeffrey both made their season debuts against the Canadiens.
Orpik, who missed the first eight games of the year while rehabbing from the lower abdominal/hernia surgery he underwent on his right side in July, finished the game with 17:54 minutes of ice times.
“I feel good,” Orpik said. “It was probably an easy game to get back into because we had so much offensive zone time. There was a lot of standing around on the blue line. That’s probably exactly what you want to ease back into it.”
Jeffrey, who returns following a knee injury in late March, saw 7:54 minutes of action and registered three shots.
Jeffrey showed no hesitation on the ice, skating and crashing the net hard. He nearly scored a goal from right atop the crease, but was denied by Carey Price.
“It feels good,” Jeffrey said of his injury. “Stuff happened a lot quicker, you feel a lot more run down. I think that’s just natural. When you’re off the ice for eight months and you jump into a game situation like that I think there’s going to be a little aches a pains, but overall I feel good.”
“I thought they both did well in their debuts,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “Orpik’s PK in the second period, got a few more minutes there. He was outstanding on the penalty kill. I thought he looked really sharp in his gap and playing defense and playing physical.
“Dustin Jeffrey, limited time but a real good chance at the net. I thought he was real smart with his play and added on the power play in the third. I thought they did real well. It’s good to have them back in the lineup.”
THIS ‘N AT
Engelland tallied two assists in the game, his first career NHL multipoint game.
Montreal defenseman, and former Penguin, Hal Gill played in his 1,000th game. Gill, who was a member of the Penguins’ 2009 Stanley Cup championship team, was honored with a Video Board tribute video. The crowd gave him a standing ovation and both squads tapped their sticks as Gill nodded his head in appreciation.
Author: Sam Kasan