Penguins top Blue Jackets in playoff opener

Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby collides with Columbus
Penguins top Blue Jackets in playoff opener
Author

14 April, 2017

In addition, NY has won six of seven all-time playoff games at Bell Centre.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were probably pretty happy that they ended up keeping Marc-Andre Fleury on their roster this season because they needed him on Wednesday night in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Montreal twice fell into a two-game deficit before NY ultimately eliminated them in Game 6. The Rangers have 10 previous participants.

The expectation was that Montreal and NY would go toe to toe.

The Montreal fan base, known for its long memories, will nearly certainly let Kreider know they haven't forgotten.

Note: Jeff Blashill of the Red Wings was named coach of the USA men's hockey team that will compete in the world championships next month in a key tuneup ahead of next year's Winter Olympics. This year the Canadiens beat NY in all three meetings, so I think the home team should be a much more sizeable favorite.

Getting a two game lead in a series has been a bit of a rarity in the past six post-seasons.

"My game doesn't change". Interestingly enough, it's Kreider who led NY in goals this season with 28 and will be a huge factor in the series once again.

"Me, personally, I can't wait to get it going". I see the Canadiens as mild favorites for the second round whereas all other division winners will be looking a lot stronger than that. The hits were 20 apiece through one, according to the official box score, and 53-45 for Montreal at the final horn.

But for all his talent, the third overall pick from the 2012 draft has had a hard time convincing previous Habs coach Michel Therrien and then Julien, who took over on February 14, that he is a legitimate top-line center.

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"They're tight games", said coach Claude Julien.

Fleury was a late entry into the starting lineup on Wednesday after Matt Murray went down with a lower body injury in warmups and ended up stopping 31 of 32 shots in a 3-1 win over the Blue Jackets.

Both men coached the Hull (now Gatineau) Olympiques when Henry was the team's general manager. His road to appearing in 572 combined regular season and playoff games (and counting) has been paved through a sheer desire to exceed expectations.

It's incredible to think a storied franchise like the Canadiens - the old Flying Frenchmen with 24 Stanley Cups - have not had a player finish in the top 10 in National Hockey League scoring for 31 years. "But right now it really is about the team and everyone's got to bring something to the team no matter where they're playing". The 35-year old is coming off of his worst season with the Rangers.

Lundqvist doesn't have a great regular-season history at the Bell Centre, where he's 4-9-2 with a 3.87 goals-against average and.877 save percentage. Third-liner Michael Grabner was second in goals scored with 27 in 76 games.

"If you look at the series, it's going to be a goaltending matchup", center Derek Stepan, who was tops on the Rangers with three points in the season series against Montreal, told the team's website.

The shot completely surprised Price and the puck beat him over the shoulder to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead in Game One.

Edmonton centre Connor McDavid, the NHL's leading scorer in the regular season, had one assist in his playoff debut to extend his points streak to 15 games. And while they know they boast one of the game's best in Price, their coach emphasized the importance of run support. "When you have a goalie of that caliber, your team already has confidence".

If the Canadiens can't overpower the Rangers with their physicality, then their biggest advantage is being taken away.


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