The Montreal Canadiens win the series with a shutout over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4. The underdogs completed the upset with a 2-0 win.
The Canadiens recorded the first shot of the game just 31 seconds into the game. Then they went over seven minutes before getting their next shot. Credit to the Penguins for blocking shots and keeping the Canadiens to the outside. Most of the zone entries by the Canadiens were just dump and chase opportunities. The Penguins were able to get to most of the dump ins first and clear the zone.
Overall both teams are not giving up any really good scoring chances. Evgeni Malkin took the only penalty of the period. He caught Phillip Danault with a high stick at 14:31. The Canadiens would not capitalise on the power play.
Faceoffs in the first period were very one sided in the Canadiens favor. They won 61% of the faceoffs. The majority of these faceoffs were in the Canadiens own end. So winning the faceoffs and not allowing the Penguins to have the puck in the Canadiens zone was huge.
Shots were 8-5 in favor of the Penguins
The second period started with no shots for the first four and half minutes. Malkin recorded the first shot of the period at 15:34. A few minutes later the Penguins got their first opportunity on the power play. Canadiens forward Joel Armia took a high sticking penalty at 8:24 against Teddy Blueger. The best scoring chance on the Penguins power play acually came from the Canadiens. Suzuki had a parcial breakaway and was able to get a decent backhand chance against Tristan Jarry.
At 4:22 the Canadiens got another chance to take over the game on their second power play. Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin was called for holding against Max Domi. The power play again did not produce a goal and the score remains tied.
Although the Penguins won the first three faceoffs of the period, they were still below 50% for the game. An area where the Penguins usually do well is not working out for them in this game.
Shots were 6-5 in favor of the Canadiens
Both teams came out flying in the third as each were looking to break the 0-0 tie. The pace was faster and the hits coming more frequently. The first really good chance for the Penguins to beat Carey Price came on a Penguins power play. Dale Weise was in the penalty box for tripping Jared McCann when Crosby rang a onetimer off the post.
With just over four minutes left to play, the Canadiens scored to break the tie with 4:11 left in the game. The goal was scored by Artturi Lehkonen on a delayed penalty against the Penguins. The assist goes to Paul Byron. Lehkonen was left open in front of the net while four Penguins players were caught puck watching. Byron passed the puck towards the crease from behind the goal line and Lehkonen was there to wrist shot the puck into the back of the net.
With just over a minute left to play and still trailing 1-0, the Penguins pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. They managed to keep the puck in the Canadiens zone and got some shots on net, but Price could not be beat. While behind his own team’s net, Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber shot the puck off the glass to clear the zone and it went the whole length of the ice and into the empty net. The Canadiens would hold on to that lead and win game four to win the series.
Shots were 11-9 in favor of the Canadiens
Final Score: 2-0 Montreal
Game Four Final Stats:
Goals: 2-0 Montreal
Shots: 22-22 Tie
Hits: 48-35 Montreal
Faceoff Percentage: 50%-50% Tie
Power Play: Montreal 0/2 Pittsburgh 0/2
Final Thoughts on Game Four and Canadiens Series Win
When I wrote the matchup preview for this series, I said that a Canadiens win was possible if Carey Price played at his best. He did that in this series and in game four with the chance to advance to the next round, Price shut the door on the Penguins.
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