Key Observations – Pens Vs. Canadiens

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The Penguins have gotten their back-to-back home game campaign off to a good start as they were able to shut down the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night in a convincing 6-3 victory. Pittsburgh will be  hosting the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night, who will also be playing their second game in two nights. This Montreal team successfully defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Friday night in the 4th game of their 5 game road trip.

On November 18, the Penguins played the first game of their three game season series against the Canadiens in Montreal and their visit to the Bell Center was a successful one. Marc-Andre Fleury did his best impression of a brick wall and stopped 27 shots on goal in a 4-0 victory.

The battle for the top spot in the Eastern Conference is really starting to heat up as the Penguins’ win against the Lightening placed Pittsburgh back in the top spot with 53 points (tied with NY Islanders).

Canadiens net minder Carey Price has one more win than Fleury but Fleury has the edge in the save percentage department with a .928 compared to Price’s .927.

Fleury is likely to be back behind the crease Saturday night after being rested in Friday night’s clash against the Lightning and despite not having the most impressive save percentage (.896) against the Montreal team, he still has a very respectable 17-9-3 record.

Newly acquired David Perron should make his debut on Saturday night after being traded to the Penguins on Friday from the Edmonton Oilers, Perron should give Pittsburgh some needed depth on the wing in the absence of Patric Hornqvist, who is on the IR list due to a lower-body injury.

The key to the Canadiens success as of late has been their defense; they have only given up 11 goals in their last 9 games. That’s an average of 1.2 goals per game, so the Penguins will need to find ways to get passed P.K. Subban and his crew to be successful in this top of the table dual.

Saturday night’s game may come down to which team is able the brush off fatigue. The Penguins may have a slight and I mean slight advantage in the rest factor department due to playing at home on Friday night whereas the Canadiens traveled in from New Jersey after playing the same night.