Stanley Cup Playoffs Live Blog: Canadiens Close Mellon Arena With 5-2 Victory in Game 7

Stanley Cup Playoffs Live Blog: Canadiens Close Mellon Arena With 5-2 Victory in Game 7Final, Canadiens 5-2: There will be a new Stanley Cup champion this year, as the Penguins have been knocked off by the Canadiens in seven games. The eighth-seeded Habs will open on the road in the Eastern Conference finals against either the Bruins or Flyers, and those tough-as-nails Canadiens are going to be a tough out in the next round.

Third period, 2:32, Canadiens 5-2: Jaroslav Halak is just showing off at this point. He's got 35 saves, and the Versus crew is reading the Mellon Arena obituary.

Third period, 3:45, Canadiens 5-2: Pittsburgh has emptied its net, which is a gamble because Montreal can ice the puck on the penalty kill. But on the other hand, if you've dug yourselves a three-goal hole, you've got to gamble to crawl your way out.

Third period, 4:29, Canadiens 5-2: Hal Gill is back in the box, which is good because the man needs some rest. He'll serve two for interference.

Third period, 10:00, Canadiens 5-2: That's officially it, for real this time. Mike Cammalleri fed the puck across the crease to Brian Gionta, who batted the puck out of the air and into the net for his second goal of the night. The Penguins' careless too-many-men penalty killed them, their season and Mellon Arena.

Third period, 11:02, Canadiens 4-2: Jaroslav Halak will be credited with a nice save on Geno Malkin's quick wrister from the low slot, but Malkin really should have lifted the puck over Halak's left pad. The Habs dodged another bullet and then killed off the rest of Pittsburgh's power play.

Montreal will also go on the power play after Pittsburgh was whistled for too many men, and there is a delay in the game because of a crack in the glass behind Halak. To this point, though, there have been no cracks in Halak.

Third period, 13:20, Canadiens 4-2: Hal Gill was called for holding, and the Pens are back on the power play. This is big for two reasons. First, it gives the Penguins' excellent power play a chance to go to work, and it takes Sidney Crosby's shadow off the ice. Huge two minutes coming up.

Third period, 14:01, Canadiens 4-2: Matt Cooke is such a weasel. He flew toward the Montreal crease, spun around like a top and flopped backward onto Jaroslav Halak's left pad. Halak is lucky he didn't twist up his knee or anything. This guy is a poor man's Sean Avery.

Third period, 16:54, Canadiens 4-2: Jaroslav Halak made a tremendous save a few seconds into the third period to stop Sidney Crosby's bid on the doorstep below the right circle. The Canadiens are very fortunate to still have a two-goal lead.

Third period, 19:58, Canadiens 4-2: Game on in Pittsburgh.

Second intermission, Canadiens 4-2: The Versus crew called out Sergei Gonchar for his disinterested play, and they had the video evidence to prove it. Gonchar has been loafing it, looking asleep on the ice, and his poor play has led to a handful of scoring chances for the Canadiens, as well as a goal. He should be embarrassed.

End of second period, Canadiens 4-2: It's amazing how much better the Penguins are when they're playing loose and confident. They'll open the third period with one minute of a four-on-three advantage, which will turn into a five-on-four for 50 seconds.

Second period, 0:10, Canadiens 4-2: Josh Gorges was called for cross-checking, and the Penguins will have a four-on-three for 1:10. This is going to get dicey.

Second period, 1:00, Canadiens 4-2: A melee just started because — guess who? — Matt Cooke jabbed his stick into Jaroslav Halak's chest after the Montreal goalie froze the puck. Minors were handed to Tyler Kennedy and Mike Cammalleri, and they'll play four on four.

Second period, 3:30, Canadiens 4-2: The Penguins' power play was so pedestrian that they should have gotten a ticket for jaywalking, but they kept the puck in their possession for an extra 40 seconds. After the puck moved around the Montreal zone, Alexei Ponikarovsky unloaded a bomb from high in the zone that was deflected by Jordan Staal and the puck found the net. The Penguins announced they aren't dead just yet.

Second period, 6:11, Canadiens 4-1: Roman Hamrlik was whistled for holding, and the Penguins have a power play. They've looked miserable with their first two chances on the man advantage, though, failing to generate anything on their first try and allowing a shorty on the second go-round.

Second period, 11:24, Canadiens 4-1: Chris Kunitz injected some life into the building, banging a rebound through Jaroslav Halak and trimming Montreal's lead to three.

Second period, 12:15, Canadiens 4-0: By the way, Brent Johnson's last action came April 11 in a 6-5 overtime victory on the road against the Islanders. He allowed five goals on 38 shots.

Second period, 14:46, Canadiens 4-0: Travis Moen slammed home the final nail into the coffin now known as Mellon Arena. Moen capped off an odd-man rush with a short-handed goal, and Marc-Andre Fleury's night is over. Welcome to the game, Brent Johnson.

Second period, 16:28, Canadiens 3-0: Unreal, what a beautiful play. Just tremendous stuff. Andrei Kostitsyn capped off a great forecheck by forcing a turnover in the Pittsburgh zone, and he worked the puck back to Jaroslav Spacek, who sent it across the ice to the left circle to Kostitsyn, who quickly fired it back across to Mike Cammalleri, who banged home a hard one-timer. Great goal.

Second period, 19:58, Canadiens 2-0: These next five minutes will show us everything about the Penguins.

End of first period, Canadiens 2-0: There were a smattering of boos at Mellon Arena when the first 20 minutes expired. This wouldn't be a worst-case scenario for the Penguins, but it's about as close to doom and gloom as it could get. This is a little reminiscent of the 2009 Game 7 between the Pens and Capitals, and that one surely didn't turn out well for the home team.

First period, 5:37, Canadiens 2-0: I keep saying "wow" over here. First of all, the Penguins had two really good shifts in a row, and it looked like they were establishing some control. But the Canadiens buried the puck in the Pittsburgh zone, and Pens defenseman Brooks Orpik felt the need to continuously try to tackle Maxim Lapierre behind the net. With the excessive knuckleheadedness, Orpik was out of position, and Dominic Moore found a free puck in the slot and wristed it past Marc-Andre Fleury. Crazy turn of events.

First period, 10:30, Canadiens 1-0: The Penguins spent the first half of their power play trying to figure out how to pass the puck, and they were then quickly forced to stop a quick Tomas Plekanec breakaway. This is a weird start for Pittsburgh.

First period, 12:32, Canadiens 1-0: Montreal's Dominic Moore has been bagged for interference, and the Penguins have their first power play of the evening.

First period, 13:40, Canadiens 1-0: Hal Gill is gutting it out through a leg injury, but he looks slower and more wobbly than normal in this one. Gill tumbled over himself in the neutral zone a few seconds ago.

First period, 15:00, Canadiens 1-0: From friends in Philly, the Habs-Pens game is playing on the video boards at the Wachovia Center, and the building cheered when the Canadiens took the early lead. Sounds like no one wants Pittsburgh in the next round.

First period, 16:46, Canadiens 1-0: Catch your breath yet? The Penguins recovered from a disastrous start to kill Matt Cooke's penalty, and Marc-Andre Fleury has stood on his head a couple of times after letting up a sad goal. P.K. Subban sent that puck to the net from below the left circle, and it was tipped by Brian Gionta. The puck somehow snuck through Fleury's blocker and slowly bounced into the net.

First period, 19:28, Canadiens 1-0: Wow, this is a crazy start. Brian Gionta tipped an odd-angle shot by P.K. Subban, and the puck squirted through Marc-Andre Fleury. Terrible goal on Fleury's part. And right before the play, Matt Cooke was whistled for high sticking, so the Penguins remain on the penalty kill.

First period, 19:50, 0-0: Sidney Crosby got called for boarding just 10 seconds into the game. He was fortunate to only face a minor, though, but this is obviously a gigantic opportunity out of the gates for the Canadiens.

7:07 p.m.: Both starting goalies — Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury (2-0) and Montreal's Jaroslav Halak (1-0) — have never lost a Game 7.

6:05 p.m.: Just a tick more than an hour until face-off in Pittsburgh. The series has been a grinding bloodbath to this point, and the Canadiens have done a good job slowing down the explosive Penguins. It's hard to imagine the Cup champs falling on home ice in Game 7, though.

8 a.m.: With all due respect to the Bruins and Flyers, there's another important hockey game going on Wednesday night in Pennsylvania.

A five-hour drive, 309 miles door-to-door between Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena and Philly's Wachovia Center, the Penguins and Canadiens will battle in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

This could also be the final game ever in Mellon Arena. If that's the case, the building will have opened with a Canadiens victory against the Penguins (2-1 on Oct. 11, 1967) and then closed with the Habs topping the Pens.

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