Montreal Canadiens @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Time: 2:00 p.m. | Where: Consol Energy Center
PIT Record: 39-21-8, 86pts (4th in Eastern Conference)
MTL Record: 37-24-7, 81 pts (6th in Eastern Conference
PIT Home Record: 21-11-2 | MTL Road Record: 16-16-1
PIT Last 10: 4-2-4 | MTL Last 10: 6-3-1
Season Series: Montreal leads, 2-1
*A Pittsburgh win in regulation would give them the season series win as Pittsburgh has gained 3 out of a possible 6 points thus far. Montreal has gained 4 out of a possible 6 points.
— Pittsburgh enters today’s game riding a two game winning streak as the Penguins look to move 7 points ahead of the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Penguins though still have their eye on the division crown and the conference lead, trailing Philadelphia (67GP – 90pts) by just 4 points. Philadelphia has one game in hand.
The Montreal Canadiens are still dealing with the effects of losing young and up coming goal scorer Max Pacioretty who suffered a severe concussion and cracked vertebra at the hands of Boston’s Zdeno Chara on Tuesday night.
Losing Pacioretty to the type of ugly hit that didn’t lead to any discipline from the NHL has been an emotional ride for the Canadiens who lost Thursday night, 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues.
For a team that has struggled to score goals this season, Pacioretty is a big loss as the 22 year old forward ranks fifth on the team with 14 goals, and had scored eight goals in his previous 13 games, prior to getting injured on Tuesday.
— Dating back to last year’s 2nd round series, Pittsburgh has lost 5 of 7 games to Montreal and snapped a four game losing streak against Montreal on Jan 12. a 5-2 victory in Montreal.
— Special Teams will be an area to watch today as the Penguins put a strong emphasis on their power play in the past couple practices after an 0-for-6 night against Buffalo on Tuesday night.
Changes have been made to the first unit with Alex Kovalev working the right point and Paul Martin, Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy coming off the first unit.
— Pittsburgh (86.8%) and Montreal (84.2%) boast two of the best penalty kill units in the National Hockey League.
— Marc Andre Fleury (30-16-5, 2.33 GAA, .919 sv%) is expected to get the start in goal for Pittsburgh. Carey Price (32-22-6, 2.33 GAA, .923 sv%) will get the start in goal for Montreal.
Price has 7 shutouts on the season. Fleury is 13-11-1 with a 3.22 GAA all-time against Montreal.
— The Penguins will play before their 200th straight home sellout when they host the Montreal Canadiens Saturday at 2 p.m. at CONSOL Energy Center. The sellout streak – by far the longest in franchise history – began on Feb. 14, 2007 against the Chicago Blackhawks at Mellon Arena. The Penguins are on pace to sell out every home game for the fourth straight season. Before 2007-08, the team had never sold out every game in a season.