Even though the Canadiens were certainly underdogs against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals during the first round of the NHL playoffs, they still managed to make it to beat Washington 4-3 and made it to the second round, where they are currently facing the Penguins, a team that is considered favorite, but Montreal is again surprising critics, as they beat Pittsburgh by 3-1 in the second game of the series.
This is a valuable road victory for the Canadiens, whom are now flying home in order to get ready for meeting the Penguins at Bell Centre.
The win meant an outstanding comeback for Montreal as they were swept by 6-3 in game 1, with Mike Cammalleri scoring 2 goals and Jaroslav Halak saving his team in 38 occasions, in a performance which was very similar to the one applied by both players during the last game of the series against the Capitals. Brian Gionta scored the third goal for a Canadiens team that was playing without Andrei Markov, the defenseman who is sidelined due to injury.
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Game three will be played on Tuesday night, with game four on Thursday and game five on Saturday, for a series between two teams that do not see in each other in the postseason since 1998.
The Penguins knows that this it is too early in the series, and that the defeat is no reason to get frustrated. They know that Montreal is quite solid in defense, and that the secret to beat them is to penetrate the defensive line as much as possible in order to be superior to the Canadiens in terms of shots. Well, Pittsburgh was actually superior this time as they outshot Montreal 39-21, but the few shots the Canadiens had, were well exploited, while for the Penguins, neither Sidney Crosby nor Evgeni Malkin, their top scorers, managed to score.
Though Halak played an excellent match against the Penguins, it is still not too clear who is going to be the starting goaltender for the Canadiens in game 3, as he underperformed in game one of the series against Pittsburgh, but improved considerably during game two, which is why he might be replaced with Carey Price.
Montreal is certainly not a real underdog; in fact, the 8th-seeded team was able to put an end to the hopes of top-seeded Washington after making an outstanding comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series.
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