Habs' good karma in Game 7 the result of Pens' mistakes, lethargy
Now we know what that great "White Out" at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh truly represents.
In a stunning display of indifferent hockey that can only be summed up in two words --
Maybe the Penguins really were 50 percent more talented than Montreal, but that didn't give them the right to play only the second half of Game 7.
Despite arousing themselves in the second half of the match -- only to be snuffed by brilliant goalie
For the franchise, this was the most disappointing loss since Game 7 of the 1993 second-round series when they fell at home to the New York Islanders on
The Avalanche oozed Olympians, but the Nagano experience for a team that always played deep into the playoffs simply overwhelmed them. After winning three of the first four matches, the Avalanche lost the last three to the lightly regarded Oilers, including a 4-0 naptime season-ender in Denver.
Seemingly the Penguins announced their intentions 10 seconds into this match when captain
When Fleury is having a case of the shakes -- surprising, really, because he had won the only two Game 7s of his NHL career -- the modest act of shoveling a puck toward the net will always be a decent play.
The Canadiens added to their lead some seven minutes later, again thanks to another player with enough poise and portfolio to have played in the Olympics. The first Montreal goal can be blamed on Team Canada mainstays Crosby and Fleury. The second was the indirect handiwork of Team USA defenseman
Montreal would add to the lead in the second period, first with
But a subsequent Montreal goal some two minutes later was more problematic for the Penguins because of what NHL coaches, in their on-going effort to enrich the English language, call "compete level."
But Halak was bulletproof in the third, stoning Crosby from in close in the opening minute on a Penguins' 4-on-3 and flashing his left pad to foil
For Montreal, the trip to a conference final was its first since 1993, when
Judging by the first 25-plus minutes of the game, the Penguins, all tuckered out, just folded.