clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Canadiens vs Penguins game thread

The Canadiens will compete for the top spot in the Eastern Conference tonight when they battle the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The last time these two teams met, the Pittsburgh Penguins snapped a Habs' six game winning streak, beating them 4-0 at the Bell Centre. Tonight, the Habs are in the midst of a five game streak, their second longest of the season, and face a team that is competing with them for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins (24-9-5) sit one point ahead of the Canadiens (25-11-2) in the standings with 53 points, and are coming off a Friday night win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canadiens may be happy that they are winning, getting the "two points", but a win tonight will be worth more than just the two points – it will mean the Habs went 5-0 on their Holiday road trip and may put to ease some negativity surrounding the team's ability to compete with the elite teams of the league.

Elite. The Best. The Cream of the Crop. Are we watching a Habs team in the process of arriving at this level? Or are they hovering below the bar, uncertain and lacking the decisiveness in their skill to really reach such a height? Carey Price has upped his game to a level of eliteness, having played this game for quite a while, maybe even going back to his Olympic performance last year which has been the cornerstone for his strong play ever since. And what about P.K. Subban? He played a quiet game against the Devils last night and still ended up with 3 points. Max Pacioretty is learning to take control of a game, taking charge last night against the New Jersey Devils with a powerplay goal late in the second period that gave the Habs a big enough lead to hang on for a win.

Individual wills aside, as a team, there is a lot to improve upon. The powerplay still struggles to be a source of momentum. Carey Price makes the team defense look good more often than not, and although that may be all part of Head Coach’s Michel Therrien’s strategy, to be considered a truly elite team, the Habs need to prove they’re able to consistently overcome elite opposition.

The Canadiens seem like a team that is all business right now - focused, playing between the lines. Whatever you call the team system, it seems to be working enough to walk away with wins at the end of games, but this isn’t just about the two points anymore. No matter what is said, some games matter more than just the points, and this is one of them.

This is the fifth and last game of a five game road trip for the Habs. They hit the ice tonight at 7:00 PM ES/8:30 in Newfoundland.

Go Habs Go!

In Canada (English): CITY
In Canada (French): TVA
In the Penguins' Region: ROOT
Elsewhere: NHL Center Ice or NHL Gamecenter Live

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Right Wing
Max Pacioretty Alex Galchenyuk Brendan Gallagher
David Desharnais Tomas Plekanec Dale Weise
Jiri Sekac Lars Eller Brandon Prust
Sven Andrighetto Manny Malhotra Michael Bournival
Left Defense
Right Defense
Andrei Markov P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu Sergei Gonchar
Alexei Emelin Tom Gilbert
Carey Price
Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: Mike Weaver, Bryan Allen

Injuries: P.A. Parenteau (undisclosed)

As for the Pittsburgh Penguins here's how their lineup comes together tonight. It's hard to predict where newly acquired David Perron will fit in their lineup, but it looks like he'll be on the RW until the Pens get healthier:

Pittsburgh Penguins Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Right Wing
Bryan Rust Sidney Crosby David Perron
Chris Kunitz Evgeni Malkin Steve Downie
Nick Spaling Brandon Sutter Beau Bennett
Bobby Farnham Marcel Goc Craig Adams
Left Defense
Right Defense
Christian Ehrhoff Kris Letang
Rob Scuderi Simon Despres
Robert Bortuzzo Derick Pouliot
Marc-Andre Fleury
Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Scott Harrington, Jayson Megna, Andrew Ebbett

Injuries: Patric Hornqvist (foot), Blake Comeau (wrist), Paul Martin (undisclosed DTD), Zach Sill (upper-body), Olli Maatta (shoulder), Scott Wilson (leg), Pascal Dupuis (chest)

Check out the opposing side at Pensburgh.