Giant killers

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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Penguins follow Caps in being eliminated by upstart Canadiens

First the Capitals, now the Penguins. The Canadiens, the team with the worst regular-season record in the playoffs, keep sending home the NHL's best.

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 Montreal built a stunning four-goal lead before beating the Penguins 5-2 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday night.

The Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby is stopped by the Montreal Canadiens' Jaroslav Halak in the dying seconds of Game 7 of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal in Pittsburgh Wednesday. Halak made 37 saves as the Habs won 5-2 to take the series and a

Pittsburgh -

First the Capitals, now the Penguins. The Canadiens, the team with the worst regular-season record in the playoffs, keep sending home the NHL's best.

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 Montreal 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 winner and Stanley Cup champion 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.

The Canadiens move on to the Eastern Conference finals against Boston or Philadelphia. The Flyers beat the Bruins 2-1 on Wednesday night to force Game 7.

"I don't claim we're this great team, I don't claim we're perfect and I don't claim that everything we do is on purpose," Cammalleri said. "I think we're just finding ways to win."

The Canadiens trailed 3-2 in the series before rallying to win the final two games, and they finished the upset in style. 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.

"Who would expect it? Nobody gave us a chance and here we are," Halak said. "Right now we are going to the conference final, so we should enjoy it."

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.

When Travis Moen scored on a short-handed breakaway by skating past defenceman Sergei Gonchar, who offered no resistance, and wristing a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury, it was 4-0 with 14:46 remaining in the second, and it looked to be over. It was for Fleury, the Game 7 star of last year's finals against Detroit, after giving up four goals on 13 shots. Brent Johnson replaced him.

Chris Kunitz and Jordan Staal beat Halak for goals later in the second period.

The Canadiens weathered an early third period flurry and later made it 5-2 when Gionta got his second of the game, and seventh in the playoffs, with 10 minutes remaining.

This wasn't the way the Penguins wanted to go out.

Maybe they simply didn't believe a team like the Canadiens could do it - much like the Capitals couldn't. Maybe it was fatigue - the Penguins have played 300-plus games the last three seasons, and enjoyed only two calendar months without hockey since September 2008. That's a lot of time on the ice even for a young team led by two of the NHL's biggest game-changing offensive players.

Organizations: Penguins, NHL, Capitals Flyers

Geographic location: Montreal, Pittsburgh, Washington Boston Philadelphia Detroit

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Recent comments

  • Peter
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Halak. All of your Habs fans thought that you could win. Keep it up. GO HABS GO

  • Joey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    the madder Leafs fans get the happier I am.

  • Jerome
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Joey, probably even Leaf fans are cheering for the Habs now because they are the only Canadian team left in the Stanley Cup Play-Offs.
    Montreal, keep up the fantastic work and your reward soon will be holding that Stanley Cup high up in the air and skating around the ice with it in your
    well-deserved glory.

  • Van
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Yay! Loved every min of the game awsome! Go Habs Go!!!

  • harry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    The last time I checked Quebec wants to leave Canada.

  • Cindy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    WHHHHAAAH!!!

    WHHHHAAAA!!!!

    WHHHAAAHH!!!!

    I hate losing. I'm a winner, my mom told me so!

    The refs, the refs aren't fair. Hal Gill could have gave me a concussion last night for touching me.

    And the other players are real mean, they won't let me score.

    And no one passes me the puck

    WHHHAAA!!!!

  • Lee
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Way to go, Habs, especially Halak.
    Keep it up. You can do it.
    The Stanley Cup is coming to Canada
    for 2010

  • Busy Bayman
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Man was I ever happy last night. 10secs into the game and Crosby acts all big and draws the penalty. He's a great player but a bigtime sook. And for that I don't think I'd give him the 'best in the world' honors. Come on Bruins/Flyers, you better be prepared. Anyways, for those who don't understand the OLE chant from the habs fans!!! It's not just a soccor thing.....

    The first evidence of the song appeared in an article in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, in the year 1982: it was during the final match of the Spanish Football League of that year. After Real Sociedad had been proclaimed champion, the people at the Atocha stadium in San Sebastián started to sing Campeones, campeones, hobe, hobe, hobe , which literally means Champions, champions, we are the best , the later three words belonging to the Basque language. The chant expanded to the rest of Spain as oé, oé, oé and later it was misunderstood by foreigners as olé, olé, olé , being olé a Spanish interjection of Arabic origin related mostly with bullfighting, but also with sports.

    GO HABS GO!!!! Cammi is da man and Halak is just crazy!!!!

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Quote from the above article: Maybe it was fatigue - the Penguins have played 300-plus games the last three seasons, and enjoyed only two calendar months without hockey since September 2008.

    I have to laugh how the media always seems to be looking for excuses for Crosby and his gang. You wouldn't know but they were the first team to ever play a lot of hockey in two runs to the finals! How about when the Habs won four in a row in the '70s or the Islanders in the '80's. It ain't anything new.

    Bottom line the Habs did what they had to do. Shutdown and contain Crosby and Malkin. After that the Pens forwards are ordinary or very good at best, and Martin out coached Bylsma.

  • cookie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    didn;t i say yesterday we (habs)r back all the way now no stopping us

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Explain this any way you want, but for the first period it looked to me that Pittsburgh wasn't even focused, it was like they were floundering all over the ice.
    As a Montreal fan i'm happy my team won against last years champions... But I can't help but wonder where the Pen's minds were for the first 20 minutes

  • Peter
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Halak. All of your Habs fans thought that you could win. Keep it up. GO HABS GO

  • Joey
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    the madder Leafs fans get the happier I am.

  • Jerome
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Joey, probably even Leaf fans are cheering for the Habs now because they are the only Canadian team left in the Stanley Cup Play-Offs.
    Montreal, keep up the fantastic work and your reward soon will be holding that Stanley Cup high up in the air and skating around the ice with it in your
    well-deserved glory.

  • Van
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Yay! Loved every min of the game awsome! Go Habs Go!!!

  • harry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    The last time I checked Quebec wants to leave Canada.

  • Cindy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    WHHHHAAAH!!!

    WHHHHAAAA!!!!

    WHHHAAAHH!!!!

    I hate losing. I'm a winner, my mom told me so!

    The refs, the refs aren't fair. Hal Gill could have gave me a concussion last night for touching me.

    And the other players are real mean, they won't let me score.

    And no one passes me the puck

    WHHHAAA!!!!

  • Lee
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Way to go, Habs, especially Halak.
    Keep it up. You can do it.
    The Stanley Cup is coming to Canada
    for 2010

  • Busy Bayman
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Man was I ever happy last night. 10secs into the game and Crosby acts all big and draws the penalty. He's a great player but a bigtime sook. And for that I don't think I'd give him the 'best in the world' honors. Come on Bruins/Flyers, you better be prepared. Anyways, for those who don't understand the OLE chant from the habs fans!!! It's not just a soccor thing.....

    The first evidence of the song appeared in an article in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, in the year 1982: it was during the final match of the Spanish Football League of that year. After Real Sociedad had been proclaimed champion, the people at the Atocha stadium in San Sebastián started to sing Campeones, campeones, hobe, hobe, hobe , which literally means Champions, champions, we are the best , the later three words belonging to the Basque language. The chant expanded to the rest of Spain as oé, oé, oé and later it was misunderstood by foreigners as olé, olé, olé , being olé a Spanish interjection of Arabic origin related mostly with bullfighting, but also with sports.

    GO HABS GO!!!! Cammi is da man and Halak is just crazy!!!!

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Quote from the above article: Maybe it was fatigue - the Penguins have played 300-plus games the last three seasons, and enjoyed only two calendar months without hockey since September 2008.

    I have to laugh how the media always seems to be looking for excuses for Crosby and his gang. You wouldn't know but they were the first team to ever play a lot of hockey in two runs to the finals! How about when the Habs won four in a row in the '70s or the Islanders in the '80's. It ain't anything new.

    Bottom line the Habs did what they had to do. Shutdown and contain Crosby and Malkin. After that the Pens forwards are ordinary or very good at best, and Martin out coached Bylsma.

  • cookie
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    didn;t i say yesterday we (habs)r back all the way now no stopping us

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    Explain this any way you want, but for the first period it looked to me that Pittsburgh wasn't even focused, it was like they were floundering all over the ice.
    As a Montreal fan i'm happy my team won against last years champions... But I can't help but wonder where the Pen's minds were for the first 20 minutes