Canadiens shut out Penguins in Game 4 of Cup Qualifiers, win series


Artturi Lehkonen scored with 4:11 remaining in the third period to help the Montreal Canadiens advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Friday. 

Montreal was 12th in the Eastern Conference standings, and 24th in the NHL standings this season. No team had ever won an NHL postseason series finishing that low.

Carey Price made 22 saves for the Canadiens. The shutout was his sixth in the NHL postseason and first since making 43 saves against the Ottawa Senators in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round on April 26, 2015.

Tristan Jarry made 20 saves in his NHL postseason debut for Pittsburgh, the No. 5 seed.

Lehkonen put Montreal ahead 1-0 on a wrist shot set up by a backhand pass through the crease from Paul Byron.

Shea Weber scored an empty-net goal, making it 2-0 with 32 seconds remaining.

Montreal will play the Tampa Bay Lightning or Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference First Round in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city. The Lightning (2-0-0), Flyers (2-0-0), Washington Capitals (0-1-1) and Boston Bruins (0-2-0) are playing in the round-robin portion of the Qualifiers to determine the top four seeds in the East.

The Penguins will have a 12.5 percent chance at the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, to be held Monday.

Sidney Crosby, who played on his 33rd birthday, hit the crossbar on a power play at 6:55 of the third. The Penguins captain had three points (two goals, one assist) this series to move past Doug Gilmour and Joe Sakic for sole possession of eighth place on the NHL’s all-time postseason points list with 189 (68 goals, 121 assists) 168 games.

Canadiens forward Alex Belzile made his NHL debut at fourth-line right wing in place of Jake Evans, who left his NHL postseason debut with 7:18 remaining in the second period of Game 3 after Brandon Tanev hit him into the boards Wednesday.

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