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Game 2 Preview: Montreal Canadiens vs Pittsburgh Penguins 8/3/2020: lines, how to watch

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The Pens and Habs are back at it for Game 2 of their best of five series

Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

Who: Montreal Canadiens (1-0) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (0-1)...The Pens remain as the “home” team for Game 2 and have last change for lines between whistles. Montreal gets this advantage for Game 3.

When: 8:00 p.m. eastern

How to Watch: If you’re in the Pittsburgh viewing area the game is on AT&T Sportsnet. If you’re in America but not local, the game is covered nationally on NBCSN. SN and TVAs in Canada.

Opponent Track: Montreal is flying high off the 3-2 OT win on Saturday night and really in a position to “play with house money” now against the Pens.

Pens path ahead: Game 3 will be on Wednesday, also at 8:00PM. Game 4, if necessary, is scheduled for Friday. If there is to be a Game 5 it would be on Saturday.

SBN Team Counterpart: Our friends at Habs Eyes on the Prize have you covered for all the Montreal talk you could ever want.

Possible Lines

Forwards

Tomas Tatar - Phillip Danault - Brendan Gallagher

Jonathan Drouin - Nick Suzuki - Joel Armia

Paul Byron - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Artturi Lehkonen

Jordan Weal - Max Domi - Dale Weise

Defense

Ben Chariot / Shea Weber

Brett Kulak / Jeff Petry

Xavier Ouellet / Christian Folin

And now for the Pens..

Forwards

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Conor Sheary

Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust

Patrick Marleau - Jared McCann -Patric Hornqvist

Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brandon Tanev

Defense

Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson / John Marino

Jack Johnson/ Justin Schultz

Expected scratches: Anthony Angello, Kevin Czuczman, Adam Johnson, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Sam Lafferty, Emil Larmi, Juuso Riikola, Evan Rodrigues, Chad Ruhwedel, Casey DeSmith, Phil Varone

—We’ll see if the Penguins will make any changes from Game 1 in terms of personnel or lines. So far Mike Sullivan has declined to comment about if that will be the case so we’ll stick with our lineup being the same.

—Sullivan was pretty publicly upbeat yesterday in comments, mentioning there was a lot of Game 1 that the coaching staff liked after reviewing the tape. They also had a chance to practice yesterday and fine-tune adjustments that will hopefully pay off tonight.

Three things to watch for

#1 Making life harder on Price

—The Pens peppered Montreal with shots, especially early where at one point the SOG difference was 14-3 in favor of Pittsburgh. However, a lot of these shots were ones Carey Price could read and get set, and his (and his team’s) confidence grew as they hung in there and survived the initial outburst from the Pens. Pittsburgh has to change up strategies and get more bodies to the net.

#2 Not playing from behind

—Dating back to the start of the 2019 playoffs, the Pens have been out-scored by a total of 7-3 in the first periods of their last five playoff games. They’re also 0-4 in just 5 games when trailing after 1 period (and, well 0-5 overall). Too often they get down early. It’s tough to win playoff games while playing from behind. Obvious statement, but the first goal in this game looms large. The Pens haven’t taken any leads into intermissions in recent playoffs. That’s correlates also to the Pens not winning any playoff games lately.

#3 Second pair battles

—They’re not going up directly against each other, but both team’s second pairs were great in Game 1. For Montreal, Jeff Petry stepped up to score the GWG but that just capped a good all-around game alongside Brett Kulak. The Canadiens’ pair did good work, and it was especially important since much of it went to limit the Sidney Crosby line, and kept them off-balance for much of the game. Crosby, for instance, played Kulak-Petry for over 9 minutes a piece at 5v5 (more than double the 4:33 he saw Shea Weber) and the Pens only had 8 Corsi Events for (to 15 against!) while Crosby played against that Montreal paid, per Natural Stat Trick.

On the flip side, it was a sensational playoff debut for John Marino, who continues to impress with his poise, decision-making and smooth play at all turns. Marino spent ~7 minutes against the Nick Suzuki second line, and ~5 more against the high-powered Phillip Danault first line and did well against strong competition.