The Montreal Canadiens are advancing to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after eliminating the Pittsburgh Penguins in their 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff Qualifying Round series.
The Habs took the series-clinching victory on a busy Friday, shutting out the Penguins 2-0 to polish off Game Four of their best-of-five.
The contest ran scoreless for the majority, until Artturi Lehkonen found twine off a one-timer with under five minutes remaining in the third. Shea Weber added an empty-netter with 30 seconds to go.
But the series, more or less, belonged to Montreal’s defence and goalie Carey Price. He posted a 22-save shutout Friday.
The game was relatively even throughout, with both clubs recording 22 shots and the faceoff dot all tied up. The Penguins and Habs even both went zero-for-two on the power play, although the Canadiens had the hitting edge.
Both teams blocked shots with aplomb, too.
Weber, Ben Chiarot, Jeff Petry, and Brett Kulak were defensive stalwarts for Montreal and throttled Pittsburgh’s offence throughout the series. They did all the little things right, while Lehkonen’s checking line held the Penguins’ stars down for the most part. Evgeni Malkin never found the net.
Nick Suzuki stuck to Sidney Crosby like glue throughout Game Four, holding the birthday boy to no looks in the five-on-five.
Montreal entered the showdown as the 12th-seeded team and everyone expected them to struggle, but Price was the difference-maker and the team came together in support.
And Pittsburgh goalie Tristan Jarry couldn’t turn his first playoff start into a win Friday, with the team’s starter Matt Murray losing eight of his last nine post-season starts.
Image: Ryan Remiorz