The Canadian wins 2-0, eliminates the Penguins in four games
Artturi Lehkonen (left) moved the strings with 4:11 left in the third period and the Montreal side eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, winning the fourth game of their qualifying series by a score of 2-0 .
Share August 7, 2020 Updated August 8, 2020 at 12:18 am Share The Canadian wins 2-0 and eliminates the Penguins in four games Alexis Bélanger-Champagne The Canadian Press Fans of the Canadian will have to mourn Alexis Lafrenière and they will now be able to encourage their favorites without a second thought.
Artturi Lehkonen got the strings moving with 4:11 left in the third period and the Montreal team eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, winning the fourth game of their qualifying series by a score of 2-0.
Paul Byron drew everyone in by spinning into the slot, to the right of the net. Byron then slid the disc forward, from where Lehkonen was able to shoot into a gaping cage.
Shea Weber added an insurance goal from an empty net with 31.8 seconds left, confirming the Canadiens' 3-1 win in the series.
“(The Penguins) had their backs to the wall and had to play with the energy of desperation, but our defense did a great job,” said head coach Claude Julien. We scored an opportune goal.
“We have the opportunity to grow. When the next series starts, we will play against the first seed. We will have our hands full once again. ”
The Canadian will face the Philadelphia Flyers or the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference quarter-finals. The Flyers and Lightning meet on Saturday.
The Habs, however, will not have a ball in their image during the NHL lottery on Monday. One of the eight teams eliminated in the qualifying round will then gain the privilege of speaking first in the draft and will have the honor of being able to choose Lafrenière. The Rimouski Oceanic forward is the big favorite to be selected for the first row.
Lafrenière could therefore end up with another former star of the Oceanic. Sidney Crosby, who was celebrating his 33rd birthday on Friday, would have preferred to extend his stay in the NHL bubble in Toronto, however.
The Penguins were the big favorites in this series, they who had amassed 15 points more than the Habs in the regular season. They have now lost nine of their last 10 playoff games.
“I believe in our core. They have character, they are elite players and they still have fuel in the tank, ”said coach Mike Sullivan of the future prospects for his squad.
“Each team's window ends up closing one day. You could make this argument with all the teams in the league, ”he added.
Carey Price made 22 saves Friday, registering a sixth career playoff shutout. At the other end of the ice, Tristan Jarry repelled 20 shots, he who had obtained a first start in relief to Matt Murray.
28-year-old forward Alex Belzile was in his career NHL debut, relieving Jake Evans. The latter was injured in the third game.
On the Penguins side, Jared McCann was back in training, after giving way to Sam Lafferty on Wednesday.
The Penguins had had a strong start so far in the series, but both teams were cautious for long periods on Friday, focusing on their defensive play.
Even if the first shot on goal of the second period was successful after 4:26 of play, the game did get a bit lively.
The Penguins benefited from a two-on-one attack after eight minutes of play, but Jeff Petry managed to counter the first wave and Price made the save in front of Crosby after a Jake Guentzel handover from the back of the net.
At the other end of the ice, Nick Suzuki missed a completely open net after a favorable rebound from the board.
Shots were 13-11 in favor of the Penguins after 40 minutes of play.
The intensity has finally reached the expected level in the series after returning from the locker room.
The Canadian caused the first chances, but Byron hit the post and Brendan Gallagher ran into Jarry twice.
Perhaps whipped, the Penguins in turn increased their energy. Crosby hit the crossbar on a power play.
Lehkonen finally broke the deadlock late in the third period, then Price closed the door on the Penguins.
Artturi Lehkonen admitted the Canadian is hoping to beat the odds and win the series:
“No one thought we could win. It's satisfying to have won the series, but that's just it, a series. We're going to take advantage of the moment and then turn our attention to what's to come. ”
Shea Weber recognized the contribution of the young elements of the Canadiens:
“Everyone pointed out that (the Penguins) had more experience. Maybe it was to our advantage. Young people may not realize the magnitude of the situation. They played well against two of the best centers in the NHL. ”
Alex Belzile was happy to be part of such a special match:
“I've been preparing to play in the NHL for a long time. I was trying not to be too nervous, not to have too much energy. It was an important game. My situation was secondary. It was important to win and I'm happy to have contributed. ”
Sidney Crosby believes the Penguins could have done more to hurt Carey Price:
“We knew he was a very good goalie. He did what the Canadiens wanted him to do. We didn't do a good enough job scoring goals. ”