The Montreal Canadiens eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins for their second upset in the National Hockey League playoffs.
Montreal beat the Penguins 5-2 in a decisive Game 7 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh last night to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. The Canadiens will play the Boston Bruins or Philadelphia Flyers for a place in the Stanley Cup finals. The Flyers defeated the Bruins 2-1 last night in Philadelphia to force a seventh game on May 14 in Boston.
Montreal entered the playoffs as the East’s eighth seed and fell behind 3-1 in the first round against the Washington Capitals before winning three straight games to oust the conference’s top seed. In beating the Penguins, the Canadiens rallied from a three-games-to-two deficit.
“That’s two big opponents we knocked off,” Brian Gionta, who scored two goals last night, said in a televised on-ice interview. “We’re looking forward to the conference finals and moving on.”
Gionta and Dominic Moore scored in the first period for Montreal. Mike Cammalleri and Travis Moen added goals early in the second period to give the Canadiens a 4-0 lead, before Chris Kunitz and Jordan Staal pulled the Penguins within two goals by the end of the second period.
Gionta’s power-play goal midway through the third period completed the scoring for Montreal, which got 37 saves from goalie Jaroslav Halak. The Penguins outshot Montreal 39-20.
Cammalleri, who has 12 goals so far in this year’s playoffs, said the Canadiens are proving many critics wrong.
“We might be changing some minds, that’s for sure,” he said in a televised on-ice interview. “I don’t want it to stop.”
In Philadelphia, Mike Richards and Danny Briere scored for the Flyers -- who have won three straight games after losing the first three in the series. Milan Lucic scored Boston’s only goal with a minute left in the game.