Penguins suffer second consecutive home defeat

October 10, 2010

The second regular-season NHL game at Consol Energy Center could have turned into a boxing match — and Penguins players probably would have offered to set up the squared circle.

They had waited almost five full months for another crack as the Montreal Canadiens.

Waiting another day or two would have been a good idea.

Late third-period goals by Penguins-killing winger Mike Cammalleri and center Scott Gomez sent the Penguins to a stunning second straight home defeat, 3-2.

The goals came 24 seconds apart at 17:48 and 18:12

The Penguins had taken a 2-1 lead on center Mark Letestu's goal at 8:42 of the third period.

Only 150 days removed form a bitter loss to Montreal in Game 7 of a second-round Stanley Cup playoff series, the Penguins have dropped consecutive 3-2 decisions at their new arena. They lost Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Letestu, a training-camp sensation who has said he won't allow himself to feel comfortable as a NHL regular, wristed a shot past Montreal goalie Carey Price — one of 38 shots by the Penguins.

Montreal managed only 27, but Cammalleri scored on two of them.

He scored six goals in the playoff series win last spring.

Until the Canadiens' late flurry, Fleury, pulled from that Game 7, had showed strong against the boyhood club that forced him to spend most of his summer away from his native Quebec Provence to avoid ribbing from Canadiens fans.

Cammalleri bested him at 15:24 of the first period to give the Canadiens a 1-0 cushion.

Coach Dan Bylsma was intent on working his shutdown defense pairing of Brooks Orpik and Zbynek Michalek against Cammalleri. Orpik was hobbled by a torso injury during the playoff series, and Michalek was playing with Phoenix.

Michalek might be a Penguin because of the damage Cammalleri did last spring.

"Philadelphia did a better job with that than we did, keeping him to the outside and making him more uncomfortable on the ice," Bylsma said. He was far too comfortable in that series against us, and it was a big factor."

Penguins superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, limited to a goal apiece in that playoff series, shook off some frustration to get the Penguins even in the second period — one they arrived at having combined to misfire on seven shots.

Malkin missing the net was the only chance Canadiens goalie Carey Price had to stop him early in the second period.

Working a 4-on-3 power play, Malkin received a perfect cross-ice feed from Crosby and rocketed the puck past Price from within the right circle. The Penguins were tied, 1-1.