- After enjoying a day off on Monday, the Canadiens skated at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Penguins.
- Carey Price will be back between the pipes on Tuesday night. He’s strung together a 10-10-3 record, a 2.93 goals-average and a .908 save percentage over the course of his career against the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury will get the nod for Pittsburgh. He boasts a 18-10-3 record, a 3.01 goals-against average and a .897 save percentage against Montreal.
- Following the morning skate, head coach Michel Therrien announced that he wouldn’t be making any changes to his lineup heading into Tuesday night’s game, with the exception of Carey Price tending goal. That means that newcomer Paul Byron will still have to wait to make his Canadiens debut.
- Even if the Canadiens’ power play has scored just once in 14 tries since October 7, Therrien is more concerned about wins than he is the man advantage. Nevertheless, with three wins and six points in the bank, the Canadiens spent a lot of time working on their power play during the morning skate.
“At this point in the year, we’re not necessarily looking to score a lot of goals. At 5-on-5, we’re capable of generating momentum and we certainly don’t want to lose momentum because of a power play. We haven’t been able to really practice it well because it requires repetition,” explained Therrien. “When something isn’t working, you have a tendency to go back to old habits. That’s what happened over the last two games and it wasn’t good. We took the time this morning to work on it so we don’t lose any momentum when we’re on the power play.”
- The Penguins have struggled to light the lamp early on this season, finding the back of the net just once in their first two games of the year while dropping contests in Dallas and Arizona. With the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel in their arsenal, though, defenseman Jeff Petry says paying any attention to the Penguins’ offensive struggles would be a serious mistake.
“You have to expect what they can bring to the table. I don’t think we should read too much into what happened in their first two games. We’ve got to focus on tonight,” stressed Petry, who has been the Canadiens’ third-most used rearguard through three games this year, averaging 22:08 of ice time per game. “I don’t think they’re going to be passive. I think they’re going to be putting pucks on net and getting bodies to the net. We have to do a good job at letting Price see the puck and boxing guys out so they don’t get their second chances. With those guys, you have to play them tight. They can make plays if they have the space. You’ve got to be in their face all night long.”
Like Petry, the Canadiens’ bench boss fully understands the tough task that awaits his group, especially with it being the Penguins’ first game of the year on home ice.
“It’s a big challenge. They have three scorers with the type of talent to score 50 goals. I’m not going to lie about it; the Penguins have a good offensive team,” admitted Therrien. “Even if they haven’t won their first two road games, I expect them to be fired up tonight.”
- Dale Weise will be playing his 100th career game with the Canadiens on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. The Winnipeg native, who was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in February 2014, is amazed at just how fast time has flown by since joining the CH.
“One hundred games with this team is pretty special, especially with it being my favorite team growing up. It’s been cool. I can’t believe it’s been that quick. I’m pretty excited about it,” offered Weise, who has put up 13 goals and 33 points in his 99 previous regular season outings with the bleu-blanc-rouge, but is still looking for his first point of the 2015-16 campaign. “Coming here, it was the first opportunity I had in the NHL to play more than five minutes a night. I’ve certainly enjoyed it. We’ve got a great group of guys here. We’ve got a great team. Going forward, I expect special things from our team.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and City TV.
Probable lineup against the Penguins:
Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher
Lars Eller - Alex Galchenyuk - Alexander Semin
Tomas Fleischmann - David Desharnais - Dale Weise
Brian Flynn -Torrey Mitchell - Devante Smith-Pelly
Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin - Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu - Tom Gilbert
Game preview: Canadiens @ Penguins
A special win