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PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Montreal Canadiens used a systematic approach to frustrate and shut down the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ star-studded
attack.Paul Byron scored two goals and added an assist Nicklas Backstrom Jersey , leading the Canadiens to a 5-1 victory over the Penguins on Saturday night.“Our plan was just to skate and forecheck
relentlessly,” Byron said. “When you give (the Penguins) space to skate, they’re
going to make plays all night. But when you close lanes, I think that makes it
hard for them.”The Canadiens opened the season with three of four possible
points in two road games against Toronto and Pittsburgh. Byron contributed
Saturday with his first multi-goal game since scoring a hat trick last December
against Detroit.Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia and Charles Hudon also scored for
the Canadiens, who snapped a five-game losing streak against Pittsburgh. It was
Montreal’s first win against Pittsburgh since Al Montoya’s 36-save shutout Oct.
18, 2016.Carey Price made 21 saves on Saturday for his first win against
Pittsburgh since Oct. 13, 2015. Price had plenty of help as the Canadiens
blocked 22 shots, one more than he faced.“It’s definitely huge to get those
blocks,” Price said. “A couple of them, especially in the first period, could’ve
been a game-changer.”Riley Sheahan scored for Pittsburgh, which lamented its
puck management during a wild season-opening 7-6 overtime win against Washington
on Thursday.Kris Letang, a Montreal native, had an assist and passed Hall of
Famer Paul Coffey for most points in team history by a defenseman with 441. Matt
Murray, who has allowed 11 goals in two games, made 24 saves in the loss.“I
think we’re a team right now that just wants to score instead of playing the
game the right way and that means playing on both sides of the puck,” Penguins’
coach Mike Sullivan said. “Right now, we’re not even close to where we need to
be. I know we have a talented group and I know we can score. Until we learn how
to play defense and become harder to play against, we’re not going to control
outcomes.”Last season, Pittsburgh scored five goals in each of its three games
against Montreal. The Canadiens returned the favor with a five-goal outburst
Saturday. The teams will meet again next Saturday in Montreal.“It’s obviously
concerning,” Sullivan said. “You don’t ever want to get outworked. I thought
they played harder and smarter. They were hard to play against.”Gallagher scored
the game’s first goal midway through the opening period. Tomas Tatar’s initial
shot off the rush hit Penguins’ defenseman Olli Maatta and bounced to Gallagher,
who converted the 2-on-1.Byron’s breakaway goal gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead
later in the period. He beat Maatta at the blue line and tucked a
backhand-forehand deke between Murray’s outstretched pad and the post.Byron
scored his second goal just 3:43 into the second period. Max Domi chipped the
puck from behind the goal to Byron Philipp Grubauer Jersey , who flipped a shot past Murray.Byron had the primary assist on a short-handed goal later in the period to make it a 4-0 game.
Armia finished the 2-on-1 pass from Byron with a backhand chip behind Murray.“If
they would’ve scored a power-play goal, it would’ve made it 3-1 and could’ve
made it a completely different game,” Byron said. “To get that fourth one, and
take a little bit of wind out of the crowd, certainly helped us.”The Canadiens
shut it down in the third period and outshot Pittsburgh 14-3. Hudon scored on a
wraparound midway through the period.“(Pittsburgh) is a potent offensive team
and we respected their offense,” Canadiens’ coach Claude Julien said. “For us to
close the game was important because we took the game to them.”NOTES: The
Canadiens scratched 35-year-old center Tomas Plekanec and 30-year-old defenseman
Karl Alzner for the second straight game. Alzner played 622 consecutive games
before he was scratched Wednesday against Toronto. . D Juuso Riikola, C Derek
Grant and D Chad Ruhwedel were all scratched for Pittsburgh.UP NEXTCanadiens:
Host Los Angeles on Thursday in their home opener.Penguins: Welcome Vegas on
Thursday. WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the
Stanley Cup Final – with a chip on their shoulder.”Everybody on this team has
something to prove,” Ryan Reaves said. ”We call ourselves `The Golden Misfits’
for a reason. We’re doing a good job of proving everybody wrong.”Reaves scored
the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Golden Knights beat
the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday to wrap up the Western Conference final in five
games.”It’s insane,” said defenseman Deryk Engelland, who grabbed the Clarence
S. Campbell Bowl after the final buzzer to celebrate with his teammates. ”Your
goal is always to make the playoffs. But if I were to guess I would be sitting
here doing this right now, you would be a little skeptical at the time.”Alex
Tuch also scored for the Knights. They lost Game 1 in Winnipeg before winning
four straight to become the first expansion team since the 1968 St. Louis Blues
– when the six initial expansion teams were put alone in the West – to get to
the final.”It was their time,” Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler said. ”They’re
just playing really well.”Vegas will meet Tampa Bay or Washington in the final.
Tampa Bay leads the Eastern final 3-2, with Game 6 set for Monday night in
Washington.The Knights, whose jaw-dropping inaugural 109-point campaign included
a Pacific Division crown, swept Los Angeles in the first round, and knocked out
San Jose in six games in the second.”All those records and everything, it
doesn’t mean anything if you’re not the last team standing,” Vegas center
Jonathan Marchessault said. ”I think we have a lot of gas left.”Josh Morrissey
scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves.”It’s very difficult to
find that positive feeling at this moment,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said.Reaves,
the bruising Winnipeg native acquired from Pittsburgh before to the trade
deadline in February T.J. Oshie Jersey , snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:39 left in the second period when he tipped Luca Sbisa’s point shot past Hellebuyck. Reeves last goal
before Sunday came 3 1/2 months ago while with Pittsburgh.”The guys that weren’t
playing, myself included, we stayed ready,” Reaves said. ”We had fun while we
were doing it, but we worked hard so when we were called upon we were ready to
go.”Fleury stopped 151 of 161 shots in the series, and allowed just six goals
the rest of the way after giving up four in the opener.”Everybody’s stepping up
at different times,” Fleury said.Winnipeg got a power play early in the third,
but couldn’t muster much of anything. The Knights smothered much of the Jets’
attack for the next 10 minutes, with Hellebuyck having to come up with big stops
on William Karlsson and Eric Haula to keep his team within one.The Jets pressed
with under 4 minutes to go, with Fleury stopping captain Blake Wheeler on the
doorstep, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Knights closed out their third
straight series on the road.The Jets had the NHL’s second-best record with 114
points in the regular season. They advanced to the first conference final in
city’s history with a five-game victory over the Minnesota Wild in the opening
round before topping the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in Game
7 on the road.The usual raucous, white-clad crowd at Bell MTS Place were
silenced just 5:11 into Game 5 when Tuch jumped on Morrissey’s turnover and
fired his sixth past Hellebuyck.The Jets were tentative to start and it got
worse after the opener as Vegas dominated the next couple of shifts, forcing
some good saves from Hellebuyck before Winnipeg got its feet moving.After being
outshot 7-1 in the first 7 minutes, the Jets finally pushed back and turned the
tide with the next nine attempts on goal, culminating with Morrissey making
amends for his early gaffe with 2:46 left in the period.Bryan Little won a
faceoff in the offensive zone straight back to second-year defenseman, who
blasted his first career playoff goal past Fleury’s glove.One of Winnipeg’s
downfalls in the series through four games was an inability to maintain
momentum. The Knights scored within 1:28 of a Jets’ goal in each of the first
four games – a crushing 12 seconds after Winnipeg tied Game 3, and an equally
gut-wrenching 43 seconds after the Jets knotted Game 4 – but they managed to
take the game to the locker rooms tied 1-1.Both teams had chances in the second
period before Reaves made it 2-1, with Jets center Mathieu Perrault just missing
on a pass from Little that had too much speed.Right after Reaves scored the
second playoff goal of his career – and first since 2015 with St. Louis –
Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers rang a shot off the post on Fleury.NOTES: The Jets
were an NHL-best 32-7-2 at home in the regular season, but were a pedestrian 5-4
in the playoffs, including losses in four of their last five post-season
outings. …. Winnipeg had won a combined 13 straight at home before dropping a
2-1 decision in Game 4 against Nashville.—
Posted 02 Nov 2018

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