The Pittsburgh Penguins return home tonight to face-off against the Montreal Canadiens after a 2-1 road trip. Pittsburgh has won two straight and four of five games.
As the Penguins are starting to get somewhat healthier, the injury riddled Canadiens have been without a number of key players this week including forwards Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and defensemen Andrei Markov (injured reserved), Hall Gill, Jaroslav Spacek.
Markov will be sidelined for atleast two more months and Gionta, Gill will not play tonight. Spacek and Gomez are questionable as the Canadiens cancelled their morning skate in Pittsburgh today.
The Canadiens have also recalled center David Desharnais in anticipation that forward Andrei Kostitsyn will not be able to play tonight as Kostitsyn was injured last night against Columbus.
Goaltender Carey Price is 4-1-1 in his past six games with a .929 save percentage and 2.05 goals-against average. Price will make his seventh consecutive start.
Pittsburgh has won three straight and five of seven games against Montreal. Pittsburgh routed Montreal, 6-1, when the clubs met for the first time this season on October 28 at Mellon Arena and the Penguins will be looking for an encore performance tonight as the team looks to build momentum after their 2-1 road trip.
Penguins Pre-game News and Notes
It was a low-tempo morning skate for the Penguins. Pittsburgh went through 25-30 minutes of skilled drills and worked on the power play for about 10 minutes.
*As I mentioned on Monday, Kris Letang was meeting with team doctors on Tuesday and he was officially cleared for contact yesterday.
Letang was a full participant today for the first time since November 7th. Letang will return to the lineup this weekend.
Tyler Kennedy skated again today as the extra forward. He suffered a minor setback on Sunday but for the most part he’s close to returning. There’s a chance that Kennedy could play Friday afternoon but Saturday is more likely.
*Goaltender Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal tonight. Fleury is 5-7 in his last 12 games.
Fleury will get a day off Friday afternoon and Brent Johnson will start in goal against the Islanders.
*Chris Bourque was skating with Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko in the morning skate. Remains to be seen if he will be a regular with Malkin tonight.
Talbot – Crosby – Guerin
Fedotenko – Malkin – Dupuis/Bourque
Cooke – Staal – Bourque/Dupuis
Rupp – Adams – Godard
Orpik – Gonchar
Skoula – Lovejoy
Eaton – Engelland