The Montreal Canadiens followed up a monumental upset by pulling off another, and now the Pittsburgh Penguins are joining the Washington Capitals in sitting out the rest of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Brian Gionta had two power-play goals, Mike Cammalleri scored his seventh goal of a series in which he upstaged Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and the Canadiens built a stunning four-goal lead before beating the Penguins 5-2 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday night.

Believe it, Canadiens. Disbelieve it, Penguins.

Montreal, about the last team anyone would have picked to beat the top-seeded Capitals, much less the reigning NHL champion Penguins, accomplished what no team has done since the current playoffs format was adopted in 1994. And that’s beat the Presidents’ Trophy winners and the Stanley Cup champions in successive rounds as an eighth-seeded team.

When it ended, the Canadiens crowded around goalie Jaroslav Halak , who made 37 saves in a performance not quite as dominating as that in Montreal’s 2-1 elimination win of Washington, but one that sent the Penguins home and shut down the NHL’s oldest arena.

As remarkable as the upset was — the Canadiens trailed 3-2 in the series before rallying to win the final two games — was how they did it. They silenced the standing room crowd of 17,132 in the last game played at 49-year-old Mellon Arena by seizing a 1-0 lead with only 32 seconds gone after Crosby took a bad penalty on his first shift, then built it to 4-0 with barely 25 minutes gone.

Gionta scored on that Crosby- created power play, Dominic Moore made it 2-0 later in the period and Cammalleri scored his playoff-leading 12th goal at 3:32 of the second. The Penguins and their shellshocked crowd almost couldn’t seem to fathom what was happening.

The tone was set when Crosby was called for driving Josh Gorges into the boards with 10 seconds gone — it was Pittsburgh that took the bad penalties, made the wrong decisions, stood around as the other team skated past them.


  1. Boston_Bruins says:

    SO close to my dream ECF but the Bruins… wow. Time for a good old-fashioned rant.

    I am giving the Bruins a 0.00000000001% chance of winning game 7. Why give the Bruins so much credit? Well, because they finally solved Michael "I don't know what rust is" Leighton, showing that they knew the object of the game is to make the puck cross the goal line.

    This is undoubtedly one of the biggest collapses in hockey history. The Bruins played pretty well in game 4 but came out on the wrong side of the score in overtime. Fair enough. Game 5 they play probably their worst game of the season. Not cool, but they still have some breathing room. Game 6 they play almost as bad as game 5 except for stretches in the second period. Definitely not cool.

    Knowing fans in Boston you might even hear some boos before the puck drops. That'll get them grasping their sticks even tighter. Who knows maybe we'll get to see Wideman shit his pants and feed Briere with a tape-to-tape pass for a one-timer just as Ryder slides into Rask, taking him out.

    The worst part of all this is Rask. You just know now that whenever anyone mentions him they'll be like "Hey, wasn't that the goalie that blew the 3-0 lead?" This is just not fair to him. Although his stats are way down in this series he really has been great again, and maybe even better than he was against Buffalo. The usually stout Boston defense has disappeared and it seems most of the goals he lets in are more or less impossible to stop coming from screens and mad scrambles.

    I hope I am being far too pessimistic and that I get pleasantly surprised on Friday with the post-deadline Bruins showing up rather than the pre-deadline Bruins. But unless Rask can stop those near impossible shots and the Bruins can pop in a lucky one it's going to be a new low-point of many for a Bruins fan. Another plus will be taking an unprecedented amount of chirping from my friends at school on Monday. One of the benefits of being a Bruins fan in Canada.

    And even though I hate the Habs more than anything, good job on pulling out the win. Impressive to say the least.

  2. nordiques100 says:

    nice to see we'll have a completely different final than the last two years even though last year it was a beauty series between det and pitt.

    good too that its what goes around comes around for bettman. he may have won the phoenix battle, but the worst thing for him happened here: a canadian team destroying his dream of ovy and sid hoisting the cup.

    honestly though, the pens and wings for that matter were gassed.

    102 and 104 games respectively in 08
    106 and 105 in 09
    95 and 94 this year.

    that's 303 games for pitt in 3 years, 303 for the wings. throw in the olympics for several of these guys and you have a lot of miles used up. i just dont think the top guns for both these teams had much more to give.

  3. leafy says:

    I have to admit, about 4 months ago, I didn't think Montreal was even a playoff caliber team. They were not playing well at all and I was almost sure they'd miss the playoffs.

    But they kept hanging around that 8 seed and seemed to get better. I watched them in one game against L.A. just after the Olympics and they looked like a completely different team.  But at the time, I didn't think much of it.

    Then came the final game of the regular season against the Leafs. Montreal needed a point to get into the playoffs. Yet all they could manage was an OT loss against the last place Leafs.  And they really struggled to even get that point.

    Then when they clinched a date with Washington, I was sure they were toast. In hindsight, RJ Umberger was right. He said Washington plays "all wrong", relying mostly on long passes to score, but those plays are easily stopped in the playoffs.

    Anyway, when they upset the Caps, I was again almost 95% sure they'd be stopped by Pittsburgh. The Pens were starting to click against Ottawa and are proven winners. The Caps only lost because they can't play defense.

    Well here we are 2 weeks later. Another stunning upset!

    Now I'm thinking, if they can beat powerhouses like Washington and Pittsburgh, they might be able to beat anybody. We shall see.

  4. leafy says:

    I was just thinking, historically, Montreal has always played Pittsburgh well.  As far back as I can remember, from the 1970s, the Habs have always had the Pens number.  Pittsburgh has never beaten Montreal in a playoff series, as far as I can recall.

  5. LeafsLegacy says:

    And just to think the Leafs almost knocked them out of the playoffs. :

  6. LeafsLegacy says:

    I didn't even realize someone already pointed this out. But still it is significant. I am really shocked how far they've managed to push.

  7. TheLeafNation91 says:

    im gonna comment on Vancouver-Chicago

    Im sorry, Vancouver is not the better team, as much as that 7-mil paid piece of garbage thinks they were

    I watched every game this series and realized something really scary about the Hawks, that team can grind out a team and make them soar for months

    im sorry, vancouver is one of the most grittiest teams in the league, and watching the hawks just grind them to nothing was truly amazing to watch, have never seen that in a series in my liife, and even scarier is the hawks might be the most freshest team in the league, they look like they can play 100 straight games and do it perfectly

    also, they have the goal scorers, the great defence, the checking line, the norris guy, the guys who love being infront of the net, the smart agitators…everything but a goalie, but niemi has been enough to get them farther

    i didnt think it a first, but leafy made a great point about the hawks, they are a scary team and think they will get past the sharks

    hey…if boland can destroy the unstoppable sedins…watch out sharks

    also…congratz habs

  8. mojo19 says:

    the economics in a cap era make it tough enough to get a legit dynasty going these days, nevermind the amount of games the star/core players have been playing. Good point nords. Detroit and Pittsburgh were both good enough on paper to go back to the finals again this year, but like you said, these two teams have played some big time games in the last couple years.

    I still love Crosby, Malkin, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Guerin, Franzen, Lidstrom, Gonchar, Rafalski, and Hossa for the playoff runs of the two seasons. These guys were absolutely awesome for two straight seasons.

    Now I just hope the leafs can make the *****ing playoffs cuz im sick of cheering for the Wings as my back up team. I wanna cheer for meaningful hockey when the playoffs role around

  9. mojo19 says:

    they seem to be the team of destiny. If there is a God in heaven they'll lose to Boston or Philly

  10. mojo19 says:

    Chicago is the real deal, I only wonder what will happen when Niemi lets in one of his bad goals in a cup final game. How will the team respond?

    Who knows, maybe its the year of the Sharks finally? No one gives them any credit, despite their talent because they've already been labeled as a group of chokers.

  11. mojo19 says:

    ya, this is one of those Cinderella teams that made it in by a point.

    But they all fall short in the end.

    the 2003 ducks came in 7th, swept the Red Wings in round one and marched to the cup final but couldn't beat the great Devils. That season the West was Wild with Minnesota and Anaheim (6 and 7) meeting in the Conference finals but it was powerhouse NJ who took home the cup. I think it will be the other way around this season with Chicago or San Jose winning over the underdog Boston, Philly, or Montreal.

  12. hockeyhead says:

    the habs are on one of their magical runs.

    i picked them to beat pitt and i think they will win the cup.

    my bruins look like they are in rough shape with all the injuries catching up to them.

    but i think it would be better to blow a lead to the flyers rather than face a hot hab team that will prolly sweep them.




  13. HABSSTAR says:

    Cammalleri has been a beast in these playoffs, that's something that has been mostly overlooked cause of the Halak story.

    Where was this team during the regular season?  You know what, I don't even care.  I'm just damned happy they showed up for the playoffs.  Everything else from here on out is gravy.

    I feel bad for shitting on Gainey now…  🙁

  14. TimTheBone says:

    hahaha … i like the comment but it's kinda backwards… if there is a god the habs will win the cup…. i know your saying it cause your a leaf fan … its all good though ….

    but imagine .. the habs win the cup on their 100th season after no one gave them a chance and chewed out bob gainey for his "questionable" acquistions…. hahah … its one hell of a storyline….

  15. TimTheBone says:

    just to correct you guys… slight oversight by ya….. the leafs wouldnt have knocked out the habs with a win in regulation … they would have made it possible for tha habs to miss it tho….. in order for the habs to have missed the playoffs .. they needed to lose that leaf game in reg time.. and have the rangers win in overtime… so the still would have made it under the cir*****stances… but it could have been close!!

  16. cam7777 says:

    Keep in mind, a lot of people don't think Gainey made these moves, and that the bringing in of Cammalleri, Gomez and Gionta was all Gauthier pulling the strings.  That's what everyone was saying when Gainey stepped down, but now everyone is conveniently giving Gainey a bunch of kudos.   I guess he's more likeable than Gauthier.

    As for Cammalleri, it's all about getting hot at the right time.  Obviously he's not going to have a 77% shooting percentage for an enormous stretch of time.  Eventually his trend of scoring on 3 of 4 shots will reverse, and collapse.  Not saying anything bad about him here, just being realistic.  He's just super hot right now.  Good for the Habs, and bad for whoever they play against.

  17. cam7777 says:

    It's true they blew the 3-0 lead in the series, but what that ignores is that the series easily could have been 3-0 Philly with how tight the games were, and how ridiculous Rask was.  The worrying thing for Boston should be that when they won, the Flyers were their equal, but when they lost, the Flyers were far superior.

  18. Boston_Bruins says:

    It's just the way it is with goalies. Most people judge them on wins alone. I don't agree with it at all, but it's the way it is.

    The Krejci injury sucks. Even with his off-season for offensive production it's pretty clear how important he is to the team. Still it's not an excuse though as the team just hasn't looked good the last two games regardless.

    The Habs really aren't that good though. I think the Bruins would match-up ok with them. The Canadiens probably wouldn't be playing the same style of game against the Bruins for starters.

  19. Boston_Bruins says:

    Well the third game wasn't really, and the fourth game was a game that could go either way as well. Basically it breaks down that 3 games could've gone either way, the Flyers dominated 2 and the Bruins dominated 1.

  20. leafy says:

    There is a God in heaven, but he doesn't really want us Leaf fans to be happy so the Habs will probably win the cup.

  21. lafleur10 says:

    and leafy that is why god's team is the habs! he will see to it that they win their 25th cup!

     god has 1 team and it's the habs

  22. leafy says:

    The Hawks really are a great team. They can beat you in so many ways, and their core players are in their absolute prime now.

    San Jose will be a huge test though. The problem with the Sharks early on against Colorado may have been mental. Their past history of choking had them all nervous. But now they seem to have gained confidence in the Detroit series. Should be a great series with Chicago.

  23. HABSSTAR says:

    I'm interested in knowing why you would think the Habs would change a game plan that allowed them to win two series against two of the best teams in the league? 

    I think when they play the Bruins or Philly  they'll certainly come out in game one playing the same system and only if it fails miserably will they try to adjust it. 

  24. HABSSTAR says:

    I agree, after winning against Washington I thought that maybe, just maybe, we'd be catching the Pens at the right time for another upset because of the huge amount of hockey they've played over the last couple of years. 

    I would say it's not even a matter of them just being tired.  I'm sure for the Pens after two trips to the finals and winning it all last year they probably just weren't as hungry this time around.  


  25. HABSSTAR says:

    God is a Habs fan.  They're gonna retire his jersey next year, no other Canadiens player will be able to wear the symbol for infinity. 

  26. HABSSTAR says:

    I refuse to believe that San Jose can win it all until such time as they actually do.  I've been led down that garden path one too many times in the past.  Hence, I'm pulling for the Sharks in the West and obviously the Habs in the East.

    Thornton has, historically, been horrible against the Habs in the playoffs.

  27. HABSSTAR says:

    Well I wasn't shitting on Gauthier during the year, so I can't feel bad for him. lol

    I don't expect it to continue at this level but he could settle down to average or even below average and still end the playoffs tops in goals if Montreal does actually make it to the finals.  I just didn't think it was getting enough recognition. 

  28. nordiques100 says:

    gauthier is a loser.

    he screwed his mentor in anaheim Jack Ferrera taking his job after saying he wouldnt leave the sens.

  29. HABSSTAR says:

    Maybe, but that Moore for a 2nd trade looks good right now. lol

  30. Boston_Bruins says:

    It's all about matchups. The Pens and Caps were both up-tempo teams where the Habs played very safe series, keeping the shots to the outside. The Bruins play a game that is completely opposite, especially from the Caps. With the Bruins being one of the worst offensive teams in the leage and being down in man-power, I think you'll see the Canadiens bring a more up-tempo game.

  31. Boston_Bruins says:

    The scary thing about the Hawks is that their players arent't really in their prime. Toews and Kane aren't even really close and I guess you could say guys like Keith and Seabrook are just entering into theirs.

    As for the Sharks I think the choke label has had an adverse effect. No matter how good they are in the regular season, people will expect them to choke now. That isn't any pressure on them if it's expected.

  32. HABSSTAR says:

    I'm reading this after the end of game 7…guess there's not much need to keep discussing this thread.

  33. mojo19 says:

    Worked out better for the habs than it did for the sabres last year. Well thanks Buffalo for Blacker.

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