Canadiens and Penguins - Game Six Goals Broken Down

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For the Canadiens to stave off elimination in Game Six, a better effort would be required than those that produced goals in previous games. In those games, good bounces and glaring Pittsburgh errors had handed the Canadiens a break or two, with Fleury accounting for some softies.     

Montreal, in this elimination game, would earn there goals the hard awy, forcing mistakes instead of waiting for them to be committed. Alert and quick in transition, they were most surely spurred on by an enthusiastic crowd.

Goal 1 Michael Cammalleri (10), assists Tomas Plekanec (6), Andrei Kostitsyn (4)

On ice for Montreal: Cammalleri (13), Plekanec (14), Gorges (26), Kostitsyn (46), Subban (76)

On ice for Pittsburgh: Dupuis (9), Kunitz (14), Gonchar (55), Letang (58), Crosby (87)

Goal description:

Gonchar makes an outlet pass to Letang, who fumbles and loses the puck, then blows a tire. The loose puck is swooped up by Kostitsyn, who quickly feeds Cammalleri crossing the blue line. A quick six foot give and go with Plekenec ends with a Cammalleri one-timer that beats Marc - Andre Fleury over the right shoulder.

What Montreal did right:

Kostitsyn was perfectly placed in the neutral zone coverage to take advantage of the loose puck and made a heads up play by passing it to Cammalleri and not carrying it in himself. Plekanec and Cammalleri, worked the give and go with precise synchronicity. What a shot by Cammy!

What Pittsburgh did wrong:

Aside from the obvious Letang errors, Crosby and Dupuis both bypassed the Canadiens forwards, leaving Gonchar unable to do much on his own. One minute into the game, this is a save Fleury has to make.

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Goal 2 Sidney Crosby (6), assists Mark Eaton (3), Chris Kunitz (7)

On ice for Montreal: Gorges (26), Lapierre (40), Moore (42), Bergeron (47), Pouliot (57),

On ice for Pittsburgh: Eaton (7), Dupuis (9), Kunitz (14), Letang (58), Crosby (87)

Goal description:

Three Canadiens (Gorges, Pouliot and Lapierre) are along the boards, battling for the puck against Dupuis, with Crosby a few feet away. Dupuis manages to slip the puck past Pouliot to Crosby, who makes a quick burst with it toward the goal, dishing to Kunitz while continuing on his path. The puck goes through Dupuis' legs to Eaton at the blue line. Eaton fires a shot at the net that hits Marc - Andre Bergeron and bounces up. Crosby bunts the squibbler past Halak.

What Pittsburgh did right:

Dupuis' hard work in the corner getting the puck to Crosby begins the sequence. Crosby oddly chose to pass off while headed for the net, but the play worked out well. Not sure if Kunitz allows the puck past him, as there is no follow through on his windup. Crosby headed toward the net as all good goal scorers do. The scurrying of Penguin bodies had the Habs all askew, thus creating the Crosby space at the net.

What Montreal did wrong:

One of Lapierre or Pouliot should have been more aware of Crosby's presence near the puck. Moore seemed unsure of where to be positioned, and at a crucial point, backs into Bergeron, disabling his chance at a better shot block. Gorges was too far from the play, and a short lapse in skating hard cost him a shot at staying with Crosby at the goal.

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Goal 3 Kris Letang (5), assists Crosby (13), Sergei Gonchar (9)

On ice for Montreal: Spacek (6), O'Byrne (20), Gionta (21), Moore (42),

On ice for Pittsburgh: Guerin (13), Gonchar (55), Letang (58), Malkin (71), Crosby (87)

Goal description:

The Penguins are on the power play, and easily enter the Canadiens zone. Three Canadiens arrive to counter Gonchar, who passes off upon entry, somehow taking both Moore and Spacek with him toward the side board. Accepting Gonchar's pass, Crosby moves into the vacated space and feeds Letang, who fakes a pass to Guerin, freezing both O'Byrne and Halak. His wrister on net handcuffs the goalie going the other way.

What Pittsburgh did right:

Entered the Canadiens zone creatively, doing some lane blocking in the process. Crosby found Letang where all Pitt shooters prefer to be, in the high slot with a dead aim at Halak. A great fake by Letang from a vulnerable angle.

What Montreal did wrong:

Too much concentration on one player as the Penguins entered the zone. Having doubled up on Gonchar by mistake, the void became Crosby and Letang's to play with. Halak was fooled by Letang's little manoever, and would surely like this one back.

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Goal 4 Cammalleri (11), assists Kostitsyn (5), Roman Hamrlik (5)

On ice for Montreal: Cammalleri (13), Plekanec (14), Gorges (26), Kostitsyn (46), Subban (76)

On ice for Pittsburgh: Eaton (7), Guerin (13), Talbot (25), Letang (58), Malkin (71)

Goal description:

Hamrlik checks Guerin in the Canadiens end and knocks the puck to Cammalleri, who hits Kostitsyn mid ice. Kostitsyn carries and all three Habs reach the Pens blueline simultaneously. Kostitsyn breaks just inside the line, and as Plekanec darts into the slot taking two defenders, he passes to Cammalleri cruising in behind. Cammalleri catches Fleury moving the opposite way and yanks a backhander over the goalie's right shoulder.

What Montreal did right:

Blazing quick transition involving all three forwards deep. Creative cross over by Plekanec inside the Penguins zone. Laser of a backhand by Cammalleri.

What Pittsburgh did wrong:

The two Pittsburgh defenders were mano a mano on Kostitsyn and Plekeanec, but trailer Talbot, skating back hard on the play, cut left when Cammalleri cut right, and could only manage a vain swipe at the puck.

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Goal 5 Jaroslav Spacek (1), assists Scott Gomez (8), Brian Gionta (5)

On ice for Montreal: Spacek (6), Gionta (21), Moen (32), Hamrlik (44), Gomez (91)

On ice for Pittsburgh: Eaton (7), Guerin (13), Talbot (25), Letang (58), Malkin (71)

Goal description:

The Canadiens break up a Pittsburgh rush just outside their blueline. All three Habs' forwards are aligned as the puck bounces from Gionta to Gomez mid ice. Gomez skates it over the Pens blueline and drops the puck off for Gionta, who skates in behind him, blasting a shot on goal that misses. The backboard bounce comes straight out to Gomez, who hurriedly feeds Spacek at the point. Spacek winds and fires a blast that finds its way past Fleury.

What Montreal did right:

Once again quick transition off a Penguins turnover, with forwards on the same page imediately. Gomez puck protection and movement by Gomez on two subtle occasions.

What Pittsburgh did wrong:

Not much to fault, as turnovers of this variety occur often. Guerin could have placed the puck better on the break up ice. Inside the Penguins end, they were undone somewhat by a very prosperous bounce. Beyond that, three Penguins in Fleury's line of vision may not have helped.

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Goal 6 Maxim Lapierre (3), unassisted

On ice for Montreal: Spacek (6), Lapierre (40), Moore (42), Hamrlik (44), Pyatt (94)

On ice for Pittsburgh: Goligoski (3), Leopold (4), Staal (11), Cooke (24), Kennedy (48)

Goal description:

Leopold attempts a bank shot up the boards that comes to Lapierre, who steps over the Penguins blueline with the puck. Lapierre has continues his way up the boards with Goligoski in pursuit as Pyatt and Moore cut toward the Pittsburgh net where they are met by Staal and Leopold. At the faceoff circle, Lapierre puts a move on Goligoski that strands him for a second, enabling him to gain a stride heading to the corner. In beating Golisgoski, Lapierre, with space cuts towards the goal, sideways and curling, and brings the puck back into the slot unhindered. He skates straight into the midst of a scrum, pulling Fleury from side to front, and riffles a shot past him. Oh baby!

What Montreal did right:

Subtly, Pyatt and Moore did their jobs by going to the net and bringing their coverage with them. That create the space for Lapierre to work, especially in coming out from the corner. The rest was Lapierre owning Goligoski on the long way home to the net.

What Pittsburgh did wrong:

How else could it be put? Goligoski chased Lapierre's tail the whole way, stopped when Lapierre stopped, and never cut off his path. Staal, with an eye on Pyatt, could have assisted his defenseman at the end, but was likely as surprised by Lapierre's move as the rest of the universe.

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Goal 7 Bill Guerin (4), assists, Gonchar (10), Goligoski (6)

On ice for Montreal: Spacek (6), Lapierre (40), Moore (42), Hamrlik (44), Pyatt (94)

On ice for Pittsburgh: Goligoski (3), Staal (11), Guerin (13), Gonchar (55), Malkin (71), Crosby (87)

Goal description:

A little over a minute left in the game and the Penguins goalie is being pulled just as the Canadiens try to clear the zone. The puck comes to Goligoski at the left point, and he dekes Lapierre out and dangerously opts to hang onto it, skating towards the right point with Lapierre in tow. He passes to Gonchar, just as extra attacker Crosby comes on. Pyatt, right then, is about to poke check Goligoski, but hesitates as Crosby nears. Gonchar receives the pass and fires on goal. Guerin gets his stick on the shot, deflecting the puck over Halak's pad.

What Pittsburgh did right:

Goligoski faked Lapierre with a deke towards the boards, before moving across the line. Gonchar nailed a howitzer, perfectly low and redirectable.

What Montreal did wrong:

Better coverage of Gonchar, since they were playing 5 on 5 would have been expected. Pyatt was hesitant on Golisgoski and Hamrlik failed to tie up Guerin's stick in the high slot.

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Final Analysis

The Canadiens won this game because the scoring chances they created and capitalized on came from the virtue of their own hard work. For a rare time in this series, the Montreal goals came less as a result of Pittsburgh breakdowns and more as result the Canadiens forcing the play.

Both Cammalleri goals began as inauspicious plays, neutral zone turnovers that the Canadiens simply pounced on. The Spacek goal was much the result of Gomez's awareness and safe puck play. The Lapierre marker, the game's most spectacular effort, was a heady one on one undoing of a defender by a player bulldozing to the net.

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