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Game 3 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs Montreal Canadiens 8/5/2020: lines, how to watch

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With the series tied 1-1, it’s a crucial Game 3 tonight for the Pens and Habs

Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (1-1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (1-1)...Montreal gets “home ice” advantage for Games 3 and 4 and will be making the last change before play begins.

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: The Habs are back to .500 after the Monday night loss

Pens path ahead: Game 4 is scheduled for Friday, at a time still to be decided. Friday there are three scheduled games for Toronto (TOR/CBJ, PIT/MTL and NYI/FLA) but that could drop to two games if NYI can eliminate Florida (Game 3 there is at noon). So this afternoon the NHL will know if they need the rink for two or three games. Ideally, from the Pens perspective, better ice and less games per day is preferable. There’s always the chance PIT/MTL could draw the 4 PM game to give Toronto the prime time spot, but I’d still bet a huge Pens/Habs draw is staying primetime, but we shall see the official word sometime soon. 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

Dale Weise- Max Domi - Jordan Weal

Defense

Ben Chiarot / Shea Weber

Brett Kulak / Jeff Petry

Xavier Ouellet / Victor Mete

Expected goalie: Carey Price

He said it..

Coach Claude Julien wants to play more 5-on-5 hockey, which sounds like a good idea for a Montreal team that has handed the Pens 12 power play opportunities is just two games.

“We’re a 5-on-5 team that usually has good stats (at even strength) and we need to play more 5-on-5,” Julien said Tuesday. “Even though they’ve scored only one power-play goal, they’ve had some chances. They’ve been able to build some momentum off their power play. We always say ‘even if you don’t score, you’re building momentum for your team.’ ”

“I don’t know if the too-many-men penalties are a lack of discipline, but it’s focus. You have to know if your player is on the ice or off the ice,” said Julien. “The other penalties, those stick penalties, that’s a lack of discipline. I’m not going to complain about any of the penalties that are given. We just have to be more disciplined.”

The coach also would like to see a little more competitive fire from this players.

“We need a little bit more from everybody as far as it’s not Xs and Os anymore; it’s how hard you want to compete, how hard you want to go to the net and how hard you want to get to that puck and everything else,” Julien said. “It’s called will and determination and we need to bring that part of our game up.

“When we decide to compete and we’re skating hard, we’re getting chances and we’re a different looking team than the team that you saw for the first two periods last night,” said Julien.

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 goalie: Matt Murray

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

—Should be all systems go for the Pens. They didn’t change anything up after the loss in Game 1 headed into Game 2, so don’t expect any major differences going into Game 3.

He said it...

If there is a non-goalie MVP of this series so far, it’s definitely Sidney Crosby. The Pens’ captain has literally been leading the way with a goal in each game and putting his stamp on the games so far. This hasn’t been lost on teammate Kris Letang.

“When Sid is leading your team, you know you are in good hands. If that was not the case right now, we would be in trouble. But when you have a guy who is as hungry as he is right now, it’s easy to follow him and be on the same page.”

Three things to watch for

#1: My kingdom for a viable power play

—The Pens have had a 5v3 in each game. They’ve had 12 total chances and the opportunity to pull away from a team that they really should be pulling away from. Yet, they haven’t. That could change if they execute on the man-advantage, so hey, let’s execute! (And, also while the struggling Pittsburgh PP is getting all the attention, the only reason this isn’t a total disaster is that the Pens’ PK has quietly gone a perfect 5/5 in short-handed situations. So Pittsburgh, narrowly, is winning the special teams battle, but just not as much as they should be.)

#2: Is this the night the offenses come to life?

—There have been 141 total shots taken at goalies in the first two games of the series. Murray and Price have stopped 133 of them (for a combined .943 save%). There has been 133 minutes played and only 8 total goals allowed by the goaltenders. That’s impressive and a credit to their play, but it’s not going to last like that forever. Is tonight the night the offenses find more running room and start converting more of the chances they are generating?

#3: Geno the Machine-o time

—No points in two games for Malkin despite 15 shots on goal. His line with Jason Zucker and Bryan Rust have no goals together at even strength (Rust scored a PPG in Game 1, Zucker scored during a mix of a change with Conor Sheary setting him up). That Pens second line has been really good since they’ve been put together. It’s only been two games and they’ve gotten some good looks at net. Malkin only went three straight games one time in the 2019-20 regular season without recording a point, and that was his longest drought. He was only pointless in consecutive games three times in the season. Generational players like Malkin aren’t held off the board forever and there’s no time better than a crucial Game 3 to help the Pens push the Habs to the brink of elimination.