Habs all even with Pens

Sunday, 02.05.2010 / 5:10 PM / Recap
Associated Press
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Habs all even with Pens

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Michael Cammalleri scored two goals, Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves in a performance much like his series-stealing play during Montreal's first-round upset of Washington and the Canadiens surprised the Pittsburgh Penguins by winning 3-1 on Sunday.

Brian Gionta also scored as Montreal, playing without injured defenseman Andrei Markov, bounced back from a 6-3 loss in Game 1 and an early 1-0 Pittsburgh lead to even the Eastern Conference semifinal series at one game each.

Game 3 is Tuesday night in Montreal, followed by Game 4 on Thursday. The first playoff series between the teams since 1998 returns to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Saturday.

Halak, pulled after allowing five goals on 20 shots in Game 1, made big save after big save as the Canadiens won despite being outshot 39-21. Sidney Crosby didn't score for the second successive game, and neither did Evgeni Malkin.

Cammalleri put Montreal ahead 2-1 by scoring on a power play in the second period, then sealed it by stealing the puck from Crosby at mid-ice and beating Marc-Andre Fleury on a breakaway with 2:54 remaining.

Penguins forward Craig Adams, getting more ice time as Jordan Staal sat out with a serious right foot injury, was ejected 30 seconds later for driving Marc-Andre Bergeron into the boards from behind as Bergeron was playing the puck in a corner. Bergeron was helped back to the bench, and it wasn't immediately certain if he was hurt.

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A dud of a game for the favored Penguins couldn't have started much better. Matt Cooke swept a backhander past Halak 4:38 into the game. The Canadiens lacked not only momentum but also their best defenseman as Markov sat out with an apparent left knee injury caused by a Cooke hit in Game 1.

Canadiens coach Jacques Martin didn't announce his Game 2 goaltender until minutes before game time after replacing Halak with Carey Price late in Game 1. After the early goal, Halak did everything he could to justify the decision, and the Canadiens helped out by killing all three Pittsburgh power plays. The Penguins went 4-for-4 in Game 1, the first time since 1992 they scored four times with the man advantage in a playoff game.

Unlike that game, when Halak gave up five goals on the first 18 shots he faced, he settled down and again was the goalie that Washington simply could not beat. Then, Halak turned aside 131 of the final 134 shots he faced as Montreal became the first eighth-seeded team to rally from a 3-1 series deficit and beat a top-seeded team.

The Penguins kept pressing for a goal while taking 18 shots in the second period, and coach Dan Bylsma - aware that a 2-0 deficit might be daunting for the injury-thinned Canadiens - paired stars Crosby and Malkin for several shifts that didn't generate any scoring.

Instead, the Canadiens - no longer contending with Staal, the Penguins' top penalty killer - broke through goalie Fleury for two pivotal goals.

Cammalleri, who has points in all but one of Montreal's nine playoff games, put in a rebound of rookie defenseman P.K. Subban's deflected shot from the point at 7:29 of the second for his seventh of the playoffs. The goal came 12 seconds into a power play created by Brooks Orpik's holding penalty.

Subban didn't get into the lineup until Game 6 against Washington, yet played 23 minutes and 17 seconds while absorbing most of the 26 minutes a game Markov normally plays. Markov returned to Montreal for treatment and his return his uncertain.

Gionta had tied it at 15:48 of the first as Scott Gomez gathered a rebound of Benoit Pouliot's shot that deflected off the rear boards and steered it in front.

The Canadiens didn't draw a penalty until Hal Gill's interference penalty with 6 seconds left in the second period, then killed off three penalties over the next 10 minutes-plus.

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