Key Observations Heading Into Game 41 Between the Penguins and Candiens

Published on January 10th, 2015

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By: Annie Shean (@JustPuckIt)

Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Montreal Canadiens on the road at the Bell Centre. Both teams are coming off a loss in their previous games this week. The Pens lost 3-2 in overtime to the Boston Bruins Wednesday evening, and the Habs ended their six-game win streak to the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the series tied 1-1, the Penguins are looking for a win against this eastern conference team tonight in their last matchup of the regular season.

Digital Preview (Credit: Pittsburgh Penguins)

Digital Preview (Credit: Pittsburgh Penguins)

 

Injury Updates:
Marcel Goc is expected to return to the lineup after not playing Wednesday due to an illness. Kris Letang, who appeared to be injured in the game against Boston, is also expected to play. While Olli Maatta practiced with the team Friday at Southpointe, he is progressing but still considered “a ways away” from returning to the lineup according to Mike Johnston.

For the Canadiens, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau has been out of the lineup for the past two games with an upper body injury. He did practice with the team, but is expected to remain out of the lineup this evening. Christian Thomas from the AHL to possibly suit up this evening.

Battle of the Goalies:
Expect starting goaltenders Marc-Andrew Fleury and Carey Price to duel against each other this evening. The last matchup at Bell Centre Fleury had a shutout against the Canadiens, stoping all 27 shots. Other than his 4-2 loss against the Lightning, Price has only averaged two goals against in the past nine games, so this is expected to be a tight race between both goaltenders.

Fleury / Price

Fleury / Price

 

Keys to Win:
The first bullet point for the Penguins is to score first; the Canadiens are nearly perfect in their past 15 games when they have scored the opening goal. Getting the puck past price isn’t easy, but with enough net-front presence the Pens should be able to get a round or two past him. The second are to focus on is watching the Habs blue line’s scoring abilities – players such as PK Subban, Alexei Emelin, and Tom Gilbert should be covered and kept a watchful eye over. The final key is to focus on puck-protection and avoiding neutral zone turnovers, by controlling play and eliminating chances for the Candians to enter our zone the Pens can gain the upper hand against this team.