Big Lead Sports Bar



The Montreal Canadiens came back from an early 1-0 hole to defeat the Penguins, 3-1, at the Igloo on Sunday afternoon in Game Two of their second-round series, which is now knotted at a game apiece.

The Pens outshot the Habs 39-21, including 18-3 in the second period and 12-6 in the third; but games are won on goals, not shots, and Jaroslav Halak looked much more solid than he did in a shaky Game One for Montreal. Halak wasn't even announced as the starter on Sunday until moments before the game, but he stopped every shot the Penguins threw at him with the exception of a Matt Cooke goal in the first period. That being said, the Penguins' shot selection was not nearly as effective as it was in the previous game.

The Canadiens managed to hold Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin scoreless for a second straight game, despite the superstars skating together at times. The Pens' offensive frustrations also extended to the PP, which was 0-for-3 after a 4-for-4 performance in Game One. Add all those factors up, sprinkle in the absence of Jordan Staal, and the invisibility of Alexei Ponikarovsky, and the Penguins are left with one goal - rarely enough to win in a playoff situation, or any other for that matter.

On the defensive end, Marc-Andre Fleury will surely get some of the blame from casual Penguin fans, but I don't think this loss can fairly be hung on him; and might I add, the sentiment that every loss is automatically Fleury's fault is a tiresome one.

Mike Cammalleri scored the final two goals for Montreal, which got on the scoreboard for the first time in period one, when Brian Gionta scored his fourth of the postseason at the 15:48 mark. But this one was all about Halak, whose .931 save percentage in the postseason is better than any number Patrick Roy put up in three Cup-winning performance for the Habs.

The series now shifts to Montreal with a completely new dynamic, and if the Canadiens can will all their remaining home games, they would win the series. The first step on that journey comes on Tuesday night in Montreal, with a 7 p.m. start. []

A few other links to catch up on:

The Penguins are rapidly becoming more popular than Steelers in Pittsburgh, says an excellent Yahoo Sports article that's been making the rounds this weekend. It's something I've said several times in the past, and I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one of this mindset.

There were some incredibly negative stories about Ben Roethlisberger in the story, like this one...
Mike Beck, owner of Mario's in the South Side, says he banned Roethlisberger long before the recent controversy – for allegedly walking out on a tab – and only lifted the ban when the quarterback profusely apologized. “The Steelers want to be special,” says Beck. “Ben’s the worst one. He needs an ass-whuppin’.”
...but I'm not going to spoil the whole article. I highly recommend checking it out for yourself. [Yahoo!]

The Pittsburgh Marathon made national headlines after a microwave oven containing a suspected explosive device and pasta was detonated Sunday morning near the finish line. 

A robot was sent in to evaluate the device while half-marathon and relay runners passed by in the distance. After the car bomb found in New York's Times Square Saturday night, the Pittsburgh Police was in no mood to take any chances. 

Luckily, no one was hurt and the situation was dealt with very safely, so hats off to Pittsburgh's Finest for a job well done in a difficult situation. [WTAE]

Kipyegon Kirui, 29, of Kenya, won the men's full marathon at 2 hours, 17 minutes and 12 seconds. Alena Vinitskaya, 36, of Belarus, finished first among women at 2 hours, 42 minutes and 33 seconds. 

Each winner snagged a $6,500 prize; 16,000 participated in this year's event. [WTAE]

The Pittsburgh Pirates ended their four-game series in L.A. with a whimper, dropping three to the L.A. Dodgers including a 9-3 loss on Sunday.

Andre Ethier homered twice and Blake DeWitt had four hits for the Dodgers, who also got three hits and two RBI from James Loney. The Bucs got a pair of doubles from Garrett Jones and two singles from Andy LaRoche, but that wasn't nearly enough to overcome a 16-hit Dodger attack. 

Jeff Karstens was roughed up for 11 of those hits, including six earned runs, over five innings. Meanwhile, Hiroki Kuroda held the Bucco bats in check for just five hits over eight innings. A few token runs were scored off of L.A. reliever George Sherrill, but the game was virtually over by then. Too little, too late. 

The 10-15 Pirates are off on Monday, then get the Cubs at home for three games starting on Tuesday. []

Santonio Holmes was never actually escorted off that plane in Pittsburgh last week, says WTAE, which adds that they never said that in the first place (clearly a shot at WPXI, which did).

In actuality, this is what the police incident report actually said:

"He was advised that all instructions from the flight crew must be adhered to during flights, a TSA regulatory agent was unavailable and determined to be unnecessary for this matter. Holmes stated that he understood and the matter was resolved. Detail completed without incident at 21:15 hours."

Limas Sweed could miss the entire 2010 season with a serious Achilles tendon injury, coach Mike Tomlin revealed.

It's just the latest in a long line of mishaps for the team's 2008 second-round pick, who has just seven catches in two seasons as a Steeler. Sweed was mounting a comeback over severe emotional issues that forced him onto IR at the end of the 2009 season and had recently changed his number to #80. [PG]

Paul Daugherty wrote recently in SI that the Pirates should be contracted - a rather drastic step for a team that's 10-15, don't you think? []

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Chip said...

Is Malkin still playing for the Pens? I haven't seen him in three or four games.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Terrible news about Limas. Yes, I AM one of the few that hopes he will someday regain his college form and step up when Ward retires. I even had hopes that he would steal the WR3 job this year in the wake of 'tone's expulsion. This upcoming season may have been his last chance. I hope it's not true and he's able to compete during training camp.

I thought that a little borscht would get Geno's motor running?

AJ said...

Sweed changed his number??

Now those #14 jerseys are even more useless.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I wonder whose foot Subban is going to slice in Game 3? He got Staal friday and Cooke yesterday.

I really hope we get back to throwing bodie in front on the net like Friday. These Habs are very, very beatable.

Steve said...

It's not so much about being in front of the net as much as they have to get in behind the D and keep them moving and turning. They have to keep the D from being stationary and clogging shooting lanes. Standing in front of a wall isnt going to make the wall go away.

What I hate the most is the Pens bad habit of working the puck down low with one skater behind the net and the other two forwards in the corners keeping it in with no one ever going to the front of the net, or the slot even though every Canadians player is camped out in front of their goalie. Just once I'd like to see one of our "offensive" defensemen skate in to receive a pass and put something on net. Nope, they're standing at the blue line so they can get a head start on the uncontested clear when the Habs drag it out and even then they allow them to skate untouched into the Pens end. Our defensmen are completely useless as an offensive threat.

What's the point of keeping the puck in if you're never going to get it in front of the net for a scoring chance? Watch the Habs when they have the puck in behind the net, there's always 1 if not 2 skaters creeping around out front waiting for a pass. Better yet, just ask Orpik, although he might not know either since his back is always turned to the shooter.

Anonymous said...

I read that Yahoo column. I understand that a lot of people back in Pittsburgh are upset, but the fact is that Pittsburgh is a football first town. Always has and always will be.

They're angry at Big Ben now, but once he's in another AFC Title game, they will be some of the first ones to drop whatever they're doing to cheer for the Super Bowl bound Steelers.

The Penguins can bring in all of the gentlemanly players they wish and be fan friendly all they want, but the fact is that the Steelers don't have to do any of that and will still sell out. I know I'm going to be there regardless.