Maxim Lapierre(notes) played 11:47 in Game 4 for the Montreal Canadiens. Mathieu Darche(notes) played 8:12. They were two of the three Habs with the least amount of ice time on Thursday night ... and they factored in on one of the most critical goals of their team's astounding playoff run.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were carrying the play and holding a 2-1 lead early in the third period. As they do so often playing a defense-first, counterpunching style, the Canadiens needed someone to make a play. Darche made one, going to the corner on a Marc-Andre Bergeron(notes) dump-in and taking on two Penguin defenders. He skated in back of the cage and took a quick shot; the puck rebounded behind the net and Lapierre surprised Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) with the wraparound to the opposite side to tie it at 2-2.
Momentum shifted, and the good fortune continued just 1:33 later as Brian Gionta called bank on Kris Letang (video) for the lead. After that, Jaroslav Halak(notes) closed the door again, including a couple of big saves with Fleury pulled -- and with the final clear out of the zone as the horn sounded.
Habs win, 3-2, and now it's a best-of-three series with the defending Stanley Cup champs. What Montreal lacked in punch during the opening 40 minutes it made up for in resiliency in the final 20. No wonder defenseman P.K. Subban(notes) is feeling confident:
Oh, rookies say the darndest things; as the look on Elliotte Friedman's face will tell you. (Stick tap to Jeffler for the video.)