Penguins beat Canadiens 3-1 in Game 2 to pull even in best-of-five series

Penguins beat Canadiens 3-1 in Game 2 to pull even in best-of-five series

TORONTO — Sidney Crosby, Jason Zucker and Jake Guentzel scored for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night to tie the best-of-five qualifying series at one game apiece.

Crosby beat Montreal’s Carey Price early in the first period and Zucker tallied with about five minutes left in the third. Jesperi Kotkaniemi ended Matt Murray’s shutout bid with 2:09 left and Guentzel sealed the win with an empty-net goal.

The Canadiens opened the series with a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday but were flat from the start in Game 2 and never recovered.

Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena.

The Penguins controlled the early offensive play and Price had to be sharp right away, denying Zucker after he was sent in alone a few minutes into the game.

Pittsburgh kept the pressure on and was rewarded when Guentzel’s cross-ice pass found Crosby streaking down the left wing. The Penguins captain snapped the puck between Price’s legs at 4:25.

It was the 188th playoff point of Crosby’s NHL career, moving him into an eighth-place tie with Joe Sakic and Doug Gilmour.

The Canadiens, who were outshot 14-7 in the first period, nearly scored on a Brett Kulak wrap-around attempt midway through the stanza.

Pittsburgh’s Jared McCann dislodged the net just before Kulak flipped the puck over Murray’s shoulder. After a review, the officials decided it was not a goal.

Montreal came out with more pace in the second period but could only manage a few decent chances. The best opportunity came when Jonathan Drouin found Joel Armia for a goalmouth redirect, but Murray made a brilliant glove save.

Price, who made 39 saves in Game 1, was again steady throughout. He stoned Kris Letang twice on a scramble midway through the second period and was Montreal’s best player on the night.

Play opened up in the third period but neither team was able to muster many opportunities. As Montreal pressed for the equalizer, Kulak got caught at the blue line to give Pittsburgh a 2-on-1 break, allowing Conor Sheary to find Zucker in front at 14:41.

Guentzel iced the victory with 9.1 seconds left. Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 38-27.

Pittsburgh, the No. 5 seed in the East, again struggled on the power play. The Pens were 0 for 5 on the night, leaving them 1 for 12 in the series.

Montreal, the No. 12 seed, was 0 for 3 with the man advantage.

Notes: A pre-recorded version of “O Canada” was performed by Canadian country singer Brett Kissel. Unlike the Game 1 anthem, the rendition included a French verse. … Montreal outhit Pittsburgh 31-20.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Aug. 3, 2020.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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