It was a game that featured eight goals — one of them on a very controversial call involving (you guessed it) goaltender interference and another that will likely go down as the nicest scored in the NHL this year — and two penalty shots, and six breakaways, and 79 shots on net, and 64 hits, and a fight, and a linesman and a team trainer both cut and sent off for stitches on the same play.
Carey Price is healthy and sharp
After missing a month with concussions symptoms, Price bravely stepped back into the starter’s net against the lethal offence of the Penguins.
His first test: a penalty shot for Derick Brassard, which he coolly turned aside with his blocker.
It’s easy to look at the score sheet and suggest Price didn’t have his best, allowing five goals on 39 shots. But he didn’t have a chance on any of them, and he also came up with some incredible saves in this one.
A sizzling Evgeni Malkin one-timer caught by Price was one highlight. Saves on Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist were others.
All in all, it was a solid performance for Price behind a team currently filled with AHL call-ups.
Definitely no chance for Price on Malkin’s game-opening goal
Here’s what the NHL’s rule book considers grounds for a goal to be reversed:
“Goals should be disallowed only if an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal.”
Further down in Rule 69, it says, “the overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease, and by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.”
Watch this one closely and you be the judge:
There’s nothing ambiguous on this play. By the definition, it’s no goal. Even the magnificent Mario Lemieux, owner of the Penguins, was bewildered the goal was allowed to stand. We were shocked, too.
Definitely no chance for Price on Crosby’s baseball goal
As if we haven’t seen Sidney Crosby do every incredible, unexpectedly ridiculous thing in hockey in his 855 previous NHL games, he one-upped himself with the 3-3 goal in Wednesday’s game.
A puck is deflected off Canadiens forward Charles Hudon not 10 feet in front of Crosby, but he manages to pick it out of midair with his forehand, bat it to his backhand and whack it in past Price.
It was just obscene.
Scary moments for Steve Miller
Being an NHL linesman is a tough job.
You’ve got to keep up with a frenetic pace of play, be in position to make split-second decisions, break up fights and do everything possible to avoid getting in the way.
Steve Miller found that last challenge a bit too tough to overcome in Wednesday’s game. First he was run over by Penguins forward Jake Guentzel and then he was sliced by Hudon’s skate in front of Montreal’s bench.
A period later — and a number of stitches, too — Miller returned to complete the game.
We look forward to Don Cherry praising his toughness in this week’s Coach’s Corner segment.
Shoutout to the no-celly celly from Nikita Scherbak
Canadiens forward Nikita Scherbak slipped in for a shorthanded breakaway while the Penguins took one of the worst line changes in the history of line changes.
Scherbak pulled a forehand-backhand, forehand-backhand, forehand-backhand-roof job on Casey DeSmith and celebrated his goal by pretending it never even happened.
He skated around the Penguins net and just stood at the sideboards while his teammates jumped all over him. We call it the Joe Sakic throwback special and we totally approve.
Two penalty shots, two saves
DeSmith deserves full credit for shutting down Brendan Gallagher’s penalty-shot attempt 3:14 into the second period.
Gallagher tried to wait him out and beat him over the glove, but DeSmith held his ground and made the stop.
It’s rare to see a penalty shot awarded to each team in a single game and probably even rarer to see both of them stopped.