3 years ago20 views
The conflict between process and results, not only in hockey but in all professional sport, can be more than an internal battle at times. When the results don't come in spite of respecting the process it can turn into a full-on war, one that can leave a team fragile.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens arrived at Bell Centre for their game Saturday mending some wounds from that mental war. Each team believed it was respecting the process, neither had been rewarded often enough for it and each was fragile as a result.
With the second half of the NHL season underway, the pressure to get results has been ratcheted up. Process alone suddenly isn't good enough, and the byproduct of a lack of results is desperation.
The Penguins and Canadiens showed that on Saturday.
The Penguins largely dominated the first 40 minutes to build a 2-1 lead, then protected that lead in the third period while the Canadiens pushed, landing 17 shots on goal without beating Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Pittsburgh's 3-1 victory was the type of game we are accustomed to seeing in March, except it was early January.