Who: Montreal Canadiens (26-35-6, 58 points, 8th place Atlantic Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (34-22-10, 78 points, 4th place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet PIT for the home team, TSN2 for the Canadian Canadien fans, ESPN+
Opponent Track: The Canadiens played at home last night, where they lost 8-4 to the Colorado Avalanche. That marks their seventh consecutive loss in a row, two of which came in shootouts. And as if that and over a dozen injuries weren’t enough, in the middle of this demoralizing stretch came a trade deadline during which GM Kent Hughes made no big moves. It’s certainly not the most fun time to be a Habs fan right now.
Pens Path Ahead: The Penguins play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday and Saturday it what might be two of the toughest and potentially most important games of the year.
Season Series: Two of the Penguins’ most frustrating losses of this season came to the Canadiens. On October 17, the Pens blew a two-goal lead in the third period, then lost when Kirby Dach scored on an overtime power play. On November 12, a back-and-forth third period led to an extra frame where Mike Hoffman scored just over one minute into overtime.
Getting to know the Canadiens
SBN partner blog: Habs Eyes on the Prize
Yesterday’s Game Lines
Rem Pitlick - Nick Suzuki - Denis Gurianov
Mike Hoffman - Jonathan Drouin - Josh Anderson
Rafael Harvey-Pinard - Chris Tierney - Jesse Ylonen
Michael Pezzetta - Alex Belzile - Anthony Richard
Mike Matheson / Johnathan Kovacevic
Kaiden Guhle / David Savard
Joel Edmundson / Chris Wideman
Goalies: Samuel Montembeault or Jake Allen (Allen started last night, but Montembeault entered in relief after the Avalanche racked up six goals against Allen)
Scratches: Christian Dvorak (lower body, day-to-day), Joel Armia (injury, day-to-day), Kirby Dach (lower body, out indefinitely), Justin Barron (injury, day-to-day), Jordan Harris (lower body, day-to-day)
IR: Cole Caufield (upper body), Juraj Slafkovsky (lower body), Jake Evans (lower body), Brendan Gallagher (lower body), Sean Monahan (lower body), Paul Byron (lower body), Arber Xhekaj (upper body), Carey Price
- The Habs have had the dubious honor of leading the NHL in man-games lost for the past two seasons. Their injured contingent is nearly large enough to field an entirely separate team on their own. From Marc Antoine Godin at The Athletic:
In the past, from time to time you would see an injured player go watch the game from the press box, seated to the left of the other teams’ pro scouts. But this year, it’s like they’re having an office party. There are sometimes five, six, even as many as seven players who, armed with their cellphones and their suit-and-tuque hockey outfits, take in the game together.
- The Canadiens have not quite been able to recover from these injuries, as evidenced by the fact that Cole Caufield still ranks second on the team in points despite his season ending in injury two months ago.
via hockeydb (does not include last night’s game)
- Nick Suzuki, the Canadiens’ most consistent offensive threat, earned two assists in the loss to the Canadiens last night after being held off the scoreboard for four games.
- Jake Allen started against the Avalanche yesterday, but Samuel Montembeault played almost half the game in relief, so who will start tonight? If the starter is Montembeault, he is likely to be the biggest threat to the Penguins’ chances of winning this game. From Marc Dumont at Montreal Hockey Now on March 11:
Much has been made of Jake Allen and Samuel Montembeault’s excellent play this season, and while both players certainly deserve praise, it’s Montembeault leading the charge... (he) ranks 15th in the NHL with 9.3 goals saved above expected at 5v5, saving almost 96 percent of the unblocked shots sent his way. If you want to blame someone for playing well above expectations and stealing a few points in the standings, which is a rather ridiculous sentiment given he’s a professional athlete Montembeault is your man.
- If the starter is Allen, well, he’ll certainly be looking for revenge after being pulled following six goals against last night.
And now for the Pens...
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Alex Nylander
Drew O’Connor - Mikael Granlund - Rickard Rakell
Danton Heinen - Jeff Carter - Josh Archibald
Marcus Pettersson / Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin / Jeff Petry
P.O. Joseph? / Jan Rutta
Goalies: Tristan Jarry, Casey DeSmith
Scratches: Chad Ruhwedel, Dmitry Kulikov (potential lower-body injury?), Nick Bonino (out week-to-week, lacerated kidney)
IR: Ryan Poehling
- Dmitry Kulikov left Sunday’s game five minutes into the second period and is being evaluated for a lower-body injury, as per Mike Sullivan. If he is still out tomorrow we might see the return of P.O. Joseph to the lineup.
- Sidney Crosby was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week yesterday.
⭐️⭐️ Sidney Crosby recorded 2-5—7, including a pair of game-winning goals, in four outings to lift the @penguins back into the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference via a 3-0-1 week.#NHLStats: https://t.co/VfTS4guNBN pic.twitter.com/RtHdSqPnjf— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 13, 2023
- Sid is not the only member of the Big Three heating up. Evgeni Malkin has eight assists in his last five games. Kris Letang’s goal on Sunday marked his third overtime tally of the year, the most ever scored by a Penguins defenseman in one season.
- Jason Zucker has goals in four games straight, and has scored nine times in his last eight outings.