PENGUINS (24-10-6) @ CANADIENS (26-12-2)
The Canadiens return to action on Saturday night when they play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Centre.
Last weekend, Max Pacioretty and Tom Gilbert collected two points each and Carey Price made 29 saves in a 4-1 win over the Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center. That was the Canadiens’ sixth straight victory. Then, in their first outing on home ice in 2015, the Habs dropped a 4-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning which snapped their winning streak.
The Penguins, like the Canadiens, have played only once since last Saturday night. They were bested 3-2 by the Boston Bruins in overtime on Wednesday.
There will be plenty at stake for both teams, who will each be playing their 41st games of the season. On one hand, the Canadiens (54 points) will be trying to catch the Lightning (58 points) atop the Atlantic Division, while the Penguins will be looking to surpass the Islanders, who hold a slim one point lead atop the Metropolitan Division.
If the lines featured by head coach Michel Therrien at practice on Friday are any indication, there could be some lineup changes on the horizon for Saturday night’s tilt.
Forward Christian Thomas, who was recalled from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs on Thursday, could suit up for the Canadiens for the first time this season. Thomas, who played two games with the Habs last year, has put up 14 points with Hamilton in 2014-15.
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, who was placed on injured reserve on Thursday with an upper-body injury, will miss a third consecutive game.
Carey Price should get the start in goal for the Canadiens. We still don’t know if Marc-Andre Fleury or Thomas Greiss will be between the pipes for Pittsburgh.
The Canadiens will have to keep a close eye on the always dangerous Evgeni Malkin (18 G-27 A-45 PTS) and Sidney Crosby (11 G – 32 A – 45 PTS), who currently ranks fifth and ninth in NHL scoring, respectively.
Max Pacioretty has been hot as of late for Montreal, scoring three goals in his last three games. Pacioretty has 17 goals since the start of the season.
Notebook - January 9, 2015
The Numbers Game - January 6, 2015