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Igloo-minious end for Penguins

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Call it the Meltdown at Mellon Arena.

In the final chapter of their tortured Game 7 history at home — and last game in the only building in the history of the franchise — the Penguins' Stanley Cup championship reign ended with a 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night in their Eastern Conference semifinal.

"It's disappointing," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "We all want that perfect ending."

The Penguins finished 2-5 all-time in Game 7s in Mellon Arena, which will be replaced next season by 18,887-seat Consol Energy Center.

The Canadiens were the first NHL opponent to play in the Igloo with a 2-1 victory over the Penguins on Oct. 11, 1967, and built a 4-0 lead to get a bookend victory to close the oldest building in the National Hockey League.

The defeat stunned the standing-room-only crowd of 17,132 — the team's 166th consecutive sellout — that created a whiteout of T-shirts and rally towels and was rocking during the Penguins' second-period rally.

"This is the best Mellon Arena crowd that I can remember," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "I thought we were going to give them a really good story."

Red-hot Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak made the two biggest saves of the series - and possibly the playoffs - by stopping Penguins superstars Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on a pair of point-blank attempts during third-period power plays.

"The crowd, the way that they responded down 4-0, was pretty incredible," Crosby said.

"It isn't the Montreal Forum, but Mario (Lemieux) scored a lot of big goals here," Canadiens winger Michael Cammelleri said. "It's a nice little piece of history for us to close down this building."

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