for this game

Sabourin, Penguins blank Canadiens

Jan 20, 2008 - 4:09 AM
MONTREAL (Ticker) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins managed to stay afloat despite the absence of their captain on Saturday.

Fourth-liner Jeff Taffe and Russian star Evgeni Malkin each scored a goal and Dany Sabourin stopped all 31 shots he faced as the Penguins defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 2-0, at the Bell Centre.

Playing in the first full game this season without reigning Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner Sidney Crosby, who left Friday's 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning with a high ankle sprain, the Penguins were in need of a jolt offensively.

"We have to prove we're a good team without him," Pittsburgh defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "You lose the best player in the league, you still have to go out and win games. We're going to have to do that for a month.

"We want to stay in the playoff race and finish as high as possible to get a good seed, and tonight was the first step in showing how good we can be."

Taffe provided a spark by scoring 6:14 into the game.

Stationed behind the net, enforcer Georges Laraque fended off defenseman Mark Streit while backhanding the puck to Taffe in the slot. The 26-year-old fired a shot past goaltender Cristobal Huet for his second goal of the season.

"Georges is such a big body out there that people playing in the league know he has a lot more offensive firepower than (other) people think," Taffe said. "He sees the ice tremendously, he gets the puck - mostly behind the net - and he thinks he's Wayne Gretzky, but he does a great job. I love playing with him."

Sabourin did the rest, stopping nine shots in the first period, 17 in the second and five in the third to post his second shutout of the both the season and his career.

"I had that in Vancouver with (Roberto) Luongo, playing once a month, so I know what I have to do to stay sharp," Sabourin said. "It's not an easy job, but there's stuff you can do to be ready when you get the chance."

Making his first start since December 21, Sabourin kept the Canadiens off the scoreboard in the first period by denying former Penguin Alexei Kovalev from the slot with a blocker save.

The Calder Trophy winner last season, Malkin added an empty-net goal with 13 seconds remaining to seal the win.

"We approached tonight's game to play a really tight-checking game and don't give up too many scoring chances," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "The guys bought into it. We didn't open up the game like we usually like to do, play on our heels and try to create a lot of offense.

"But with the personnel we had tonight - we lost Colby Armstrong at the beginning of the game and had a couple of others who weren't available - our bench was pretty tight. It's getting frustrating now with the amount of players we don't have."

Montreal's Christopher Higgins gave full marks to Pittsburgh for the way it played.

"I thought we were starting to wear them down, but they played well and deserved the win," Higgins said. "We were behind a little bit, we could have been skating harder. It was just one of those games that things didn't happen for us."

The Canadiens continue to struggle at home, much to the chagrin of captain Saku Koivu.

"I don't know if it's a physical thing or a mental one," said Koivu, whose team fell to 8-8-5 at the Bell Centre. "You're focused on the road, and you get home and lose that (focus) a little bit. This one's behind us, and we have two more games before the break. (If) we can start winning more games at home and be more consistent, we should be OK."






  • 5
    roots
    DanSportsfan Added 5 roots

    Penguins vs. CanadiensJan 22 11:07 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 0 1 2
    MONTREAL 0 0 0 0 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - JEFF TAFFE 2 (GEORGES LARAQUE, JARKKO RUUTU) 6:14
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: PIT - (EN) EVGENI MALKIN 24 (PETR SYKORA) 19:47
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: PIT - 0 OF 3, MON - 0 OF 2.
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD T

    Jan 19 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    MONTREAL 0
    3RD PRD: PIT - (EN) EVGENI MALKIN 24 (PETR SYKORA) 19:47

    Penguins vs. CanadiensJan 19 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 0 1
    MONTREAL 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - JEFF TAFFE 2 (GEORGES LARAQUE, JARKKO RUUTU) 6:14
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PIT 6 9 15
    MON 9 17 26
    GOALIES: PIT - DAN

    Jan 19 8:41 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1
    MONTREAL 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - JEFF TAFFE 2 (GEORGES LARAQUE) 6:14
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PIT 6 6
    MON 9 9
    GOALIES: PIT - DANY SABOURIN
    MON - CRISTOBAL H

    Jan 19 7:48 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    MONTREAL 0
    1ST PRD: PIT - JEFF TAFFE 2 (GEORGES LARAQUE) 6:14

    Penguins vs. CanadiensJan 19 7:23 PM