Gorges says don't blame Halak for Game 1 loss

It’s easy to see the five goals allowed on 20 shots — including four power play goals — and say that the magic that Jaroslav Halak enjoyed against the Capitals didn’t carry over against the Penguins.

The Canadiens were able to beat the Capitals not just with great goaltending but with stellar team defense. Both aspects disappeared against the Penguins and Halak was eventually pulled.

Habs’ defenseman Josh Gorges says it’s not all Halak’s fault, either:

“I think it was us in front of him,” Gorges said. “If you look at the
goals, we deflected one in front of him, we turned over a couple of
others and gave them point-blank opportunities. Jaro has been
outstanding for us. We made plays that were uncharacteristic of us. And
the (Penguins) don’t make mistakes; that’s why they won (the Stanley
Cup) last year.”

It was interesting to see how the Penguins were able to so easily solve the team approach that was so successful against the Capitals. Halak certainly didn’t look sharp, but the great defense the Habs showed in the first round was nowhere to be found.

We’ll see Halak back out on the ice for Game 2.

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    Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

    Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

    DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

    Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

    Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

    Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

    Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

    Fleury had 21 saves.

    The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

    Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

    The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

    Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

    The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

    Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

    NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.